Civitans seek student leaders

Published 1:50 pm Wednesday, March 16, 2011

An opportunity for high school students to spend an week of intensive study on topics important to their present and future, a chance to form lasting friendships and become better leaders and citizens: this is all part of the National Leadership Forum held at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas each summer.

The Camellia City Civitans are gearing up to send four students from area high schools to join over 300 other high school students at this year’s event, set for June 5-10.

Mike Barrington, district coordinator for the NLF in the Alabama-West Florida District, traveled from Pensacola on Monday to share a PowerPoint presentation about the program, in its 55th year on his college alma mater’s campus.

Email newsletter signup

“Our motto as Civitans is ‘builders of good citizenship.’ This experience is all about citizenship, never more important than it is now and getting students involved in this is a citizenship-building effort for our district. We look for candidates in our schools, churches, Scouts, FFA, Jr. Civitans and other organizations,” said Barrington.

“We are looking for the same sort of student leaders you find at Girls State and Boys State.”

Topics covered at the annual forum include “Discovering Your Destiny,” “Life is an Attitude,” “Critical Issues Facing Economy and Agriculture,” “On Killing,” “Everyday Heroes,” and more. Students also get to participate in Leadership Labs in which they gain experience in organization, problem solving, collaboration, analysis, communication and innovation, Barrington said.

It’s not all hard work, either, he added.

“The students also get to share their talents at a special banquet-singing, playing instruments. It’s a lot of fun,” Barrington said.

Other exciting things can happen from the forums, the district coordinator said.

“From brainstorming that took place at a National Leadership Forum three years ago, a National Day of Encouragement, sponsored by the Encouragement Foundation of Harding University was established on September 12. Great ideas can come from this experience.”

The Civitans provide scholarships of $330 per student attending the NLF, covering their tuition, meals, lodging and transportation to the event. Students entering the 9th through 12th grades Fall 2011 are eligible to participate. For applications and information, visit or speak to a local Civitan member.