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Youth sought for Ripon leadership academy spots
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A Youth Vocation Leadership Academy is being launched by the Ripon Chamber of Commerce Foundation under the direction of its president, Tamra Spade.
It is designed to provide participants with an insight into different industries in the city and county.
“It’s cool that we got an application from as far away as San Jose,” Spade said. 
The student attends the California Connections Academy in Ripon, taking classes via his computer with many other students out of the Ripon Unified School District.
The youth program is designed to nurture and develop positive leadership qualities.
“It’s about Ripon and San Joaquin County and how young people can become leaders.  We want to create successful leaders and this program will give youth the knowledge, tools, and contacts to do just that.  It’s learning about different vocational opportunities – it’s work and it’s fun,” Spade said. 
The chamber’s academy committee includes Amy Hunt; Erik Segaar; Audrey Lopes; Leo Zuber; Jennifer Brennan; Faye Gibbs; ; Zambrowski, principal of the  Harvest High School continuation school; and Victor Ramirez, vice principal at Ripon High. 
The Ripon Chamber academy is covering all the costs so participants are not required to pay anything.  Applications are still being accepted for the October event that will see student visiting a health care facility where they will be greeted by a doctor and immersed in the different medical departments. 
The first event is scheduled for Oct. 19 and will run from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Spade noted that other chambers in the valley are offering similar academies including those in Manteca, Merced, Turlock and Modesto for junior and senior high school students.
The chamber leader outlined the goals of the program:
uTo identify high school students who are already demonstrating leadership skills and future potential.
uTo give young people the knowledge, tools and contacts to create successful leaders and identify career choices.
uInstill and nurture a sense of social responsibility in youth.
uOffer a forum for young leaders to express their needs, goals and opinions.
uExplore the diverse facets of Ripon’s social affairs, government and business.
uProvide participants a chance to serve their community.
uPresent young leaders with a regarding and fun experience while exploring industrial options in the Ripon area.
“The Youth Vocation Leadership Academy sets us up with insight into different industries and networking in a particular field that students might want to pursue as an adult.  It gives youth a firsthand opportunity to see if this is something they want to do or go and reassess their options,” the chamber leader said.
The upcoming schedule of industries through May includes manufacturing, public safety, education, government, agriculture and environment.
Students are being required to sign a contract committing to attend every one of the program sessions, and must fully participate in one group project and one community project as a requirement of graduation from the program.  Students must also agree to wear business attire that meets their school dress code requirement to each of the activities unless informed otherwise out of respect for the professional establishments they will be visiting.
Wearing of jeans, shorts or flip flops will not be allowed.
The students may be at times be transported on a charter bus with the permission of their parents.  They are also asked to have an email that will be their primary method of communication between the program leaders and the participants.  The students are being asked in their contract to check their active email for program updates on a daily basis.
Applications for the academy may be obtained at the Ripon Chamber of Commerce in the 900 block of West Main Street. Deadline for turning in applications is Friday, Sept 16, at a participating school office. A welcome and opening retreat is set for Saturday, Oct. 8, from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.

To contact Glenn Kahl, email