There’s no better way to develop leadership skills than to practice, practice, practice.

There’s no better way to develop leadership skills than to practice, practice, practice. That is exactly what Chillicothe High School sophomore Carter Allen did while attending the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Leadership In Practice student forum.

Allen was among more than 110 youth selected as future leaders from schools across the state. Held June 23 -26 on the Westminster College campus in Fulton, Leadership in Practice is designed to provide young Missourians with the opportunity to learn what it takes to be an effective leader in their schools and communities.

All participants were students between their freshman and sophomore years in high school. With help from Missouri business leaders and educators, the students learned firsthand about how to successfully work together as a team and individually as a leader.

The students were challenged to use leadership skills in activities that simulated real-life situations, including Team Building with a low ropes course, a mock Model U.N. session and an Entrepreneurship Challenge. During the Entrepreneurship Challenge, students worked in small groups to develop business plans for a new product or service and pitched their ideas to a “Shark Tank” style panel of Missouri business leaders. At the end of the program, participants were encouraged to set goals for themselves for their continued development as leaders in their high schools, community and beyond.

Leadership in Practice is part of a youth leadership educational program created by the Missouri Chamber in 1962. It is funded through scholarships provided by state businesses and civic organizations. Allen was nominated to attend by Chillicothe High School professional staff and the Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce. Ellen Tsikoyoak, school counselor commented, “Carter has qualities which are rare to find in such balance and abundance – intelligence and personable demeanor. He has excelled in all aspects of school life – academics, athletics and extracurricular.”

Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored Allen’s attendance at the event. Crystal Narr, executive director, said, “We were elated to sponsor such an exemplary young leader such as Carter to attend Leadership in Practice and serve as a representative of our community. We recognize the need to support and encourage our area youth as we know that they will become the future leaders of our community and region.”