Young Leaders of Beaufort walk the walk on SMT

04 Apr Young Leaders of Beaufort walk the walk on SMT

The Young Leaders of Beaufort, a group of 7th and 8th graders, met at the Spanish Moss Trail last month for a session on city duty. Students walked part of the trail while considering “Who are the stakeholders and their points-of-view.” The walk encouraged students to open their eyes to see the many perspectives and factors involved when it comes to their beautiful city. Mayor Billy Keyserling explained to the students that being a good leader means listening and looking at all the perspectives.

“One day you will be leaders this community,” Keyserling said. “And it will be your responsibility to maintain the trail and to extend it further.  The Spanish Moss Trail is to this generation what the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront was to mine.  When you become leaders, elected, community, church, civic, you will be called on to create projects like this one and I hope today’s focus will help you better understand citizen engagement and collaboration,” Keyserling concluded.

Mayor Billy explained to the students that the trail did not just appear. Rather, it was the product of many years of conversations, opposition and advocacy by many others who answered questions from concerned residents. He noted that it took a bold move and very significant financial investment by the Atlanta-based Path’s Foundation, in concert with Friends of the Spanish Moss Trail, to finally launch the project. Eventually, the project achieved considerable funding from Beaufort County Council, the City of Beaufort and Town of Port Royal along with hundreds of individuals and families.

Beaufort Middle School hosted the YLOB March session.

“We were proud to host the Young Leaders of Beaufort Program for their March meeting. Beaufort Middle’s proximity to The Spanish Moss Trail made it a beneficial location, allowing students to walk the Trail and discuss the impact of this viable community resource from their perspectives.  Mayor Keyserling’s vision for YLOB was realized in the rich debate and dialogue focused on students’ visions for the Trail and the impact their visions may have on various stakeholders in the community,” stated Beaufort Middle School Principal Carole Ingram.

Once at BMS, the YLOB enjoyed a unique performance by BMS Percussion Ensemble, led by band teacher Amanda Trimpey. The performance “Trashed Out” was played on recycling bins! Students then met in smaller groups to present their day’s findings and offered recommendations for the Trail. For instance, more trash cans to encourage less littering, water foundations and bike rentals.

Teacher Amelie Cromer reflected on the day, “The students did an awesome job of applying their learning and thinking through the perspectives of the various stakeholders in The Spanish Moss Trail debate, using questions tailored to the logistical, safety, and fiscal factors of each proposed idea. Nothing warms my heart more than to hear students processing information as informed citizens who consider the impact of their decisions upon others.  After all, they are our future.

Next month YLOB heads to Parris Island to learn about the military, experience cadet life and celebrate Month of the Military Child.