YELL program activities

Jarvis Spells, left, and Carver O’Neal participate in a leadership activity as part of the 2019-20 YELL (Young Emerging Leaders of Leflore) program.

The Greenwood-Leflore County Chamber of Commerce’s Young Emerging Leaders of Leflore (YELL) program is looking for applicants for this fall.

YELL provides seminars, workshops and other learning activities to help high school juniors develop leadership skills. Topics include  team-building, conflict resolution, diversity, problem-solving, job skills and more.

YELL has been going on for 15 years, but because of the COVID-19-related school shutdowns, getting the word out to students has been difficult this year. Beth Stevens, executive director of the chamber, said this is a unique challenge, and she hopes the program will benefit aspiring leaders.

“We plan to come back in September, but of course with all the COVID things, it’s hard to tell,” Stevens said.

Carver O’Neal, a senior at Pillow Academy, graduated from the YELL program last year. He said he appreciated the opportunity to meet other leaders in the community and learn as a group.

“One specific thing that stuck with me was having a diverse team,” O’Neal said. “Because when you have a diverse team you can hear new ideas, different outlooks, and you just learn to grow and respect other people in that way as well.”

Sydni Brooks, a student at Greenwood High School who also graduated from YELL, said it offers unique activities that teach important lessons. “I realized that there will be times when I will need help and/or have to help others —  whether it’s providing uplifting words or giving them a helping hand,” Brooks said. “I also learned that every team member brings something different to the table, and all differences can be helpful if you are willing to accept and adjust.”

The program is free, but students must apply. Each must have a grade point average of at least 2.5, be a junior in a Leflore County school and show an interest in being a leader at school and in the community. A one-page essay is also required.

Applications are due July 20. More information about the program can be found at the Chamber of Commerce’s website at

Contact  Adam Bakst at 581-7233 or Twitter: @AdamBakst_GWCW

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