MANISTIQUE – The Schoolcraft County Economic Development Corporation has started a new program to identify and train local high school students as board members. These students will then serve on other local boards to add their generation’s voice. The program is one Alan Barr, executive director of the EDC, used successfully in southeast Michigan for many years.
"We spend a lot of time talking 'about students' and I thought we would be better served by talking 'with students'," explained Barr. "I had a couple of conversations with MAS Superintendent Maryann Boddy and high school principal John Shiner to lay out my plan, and asked them if they would select two students I could train and place on my EDC Board."
Students Steph LaFoille and Kyle Seeley were identified by Mr. Shiner and their names were forwarded to the EDC. They were presented as candidates to the EDC Board at its March meeting, and the members voted to add both students as advisory members.
Both students received board training by Barr to prepare them to serve as advisors on the EDC Board. LaFoille and Seeley spent an evening learning about board governance issues, board policies, board bylaws, expectations of board members, expectations of executives, board officer roles, how to read financial reports, and other important specifics of being an engaged and effective board member.
They started their role as student advisory members of the EDC Board at the April meeting, and immediately began to offer insights and suggestions.
Since that time, the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate requested two student advisers to be identified and trained to participate on its board. A request has been made to MAS for these two students, and a training session for those selected will be held in the near future.
"This has worked even better than I had hoped. Both Steph and Kyle are contributing to the EDC conversations, and more importantly, they have begun engaging in broader conversations across our community on issues that matter to them and their peers," said Barr. "This engagement should lead to better understanding and better decisions by all of us. I'm ecstatic that Habitat wants two students for its Board. Hopefully this program will continue to grow until every major Board in our area has student participation, and by participating, the generation of people we tend to export (to colleges, the military, etc.) will help create a community where they can stay and prosper."
For more information, contact (906) 286-1922 or email@example.com.
From the Manistique Pioneer Tribune, dated May 12, 2016