Regional Youth Leadership

February 6, 2020

   One Thursday out of every month you won’t find me in Calculus or English. I might be exploring local businesses, putting on a mock trial, or taking a tour of our regional economy. But one thing’s for sure: no session is the same and there’s always something new to learn. Wondering how I get to do this every month? Well, it is all because of a program called Regional Youth Leadership (RYL) that I get these opportunities. 

   Regional Youth Leadership is a program unique to the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region that was developed by the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. Because the chamber wants to ensure that a new generation of leaders in business and local development are trained to take on our region, they invest in high schoolers through this program.

“Because the program is based around the city of Cincinnati, we get to see the inner workings of our city and learn about the world we live in, our home,” said Alaina Delsignore, an SHS junior and RYL participant.

   The program selects one or two junior-year applicants from each school to participate in the program with a total of 45 students. Each month, these students get the chance to explore a variety of aspects of our region including health, law, local business, and criminal justice. 

   If this sounds intriguing to you, this is the perfect chance to apply for the program! SHS participates in this program every year and loves sending students to represent us. Applications are open to current sophomores as the program is available to juniors. If you are interested in applying, you can see Mrs. Stephenson or Mrs. Fisher in the counseling office for details (by 2/10/2020) so that you can apply by the end of the month! But first, let me tell you a little bit about my RYL experience so you can see if it is for you.

   One of the best aspects of an RYL experience is the variety of exposure you can receive to different careers and fields. Because the program is expansive enough to introduce students to many of the important fields that impact our region, it is not limited to any specific field. In the past few sessions, we have visited everywhere from hospitals to courtrooms and everything in between. With so many fields to learn about, there’s something for everyone and a good chance you’ll learn more about a career you didn’t consider before.

   Personally, my favorite session was the law themed session where we visited Taft Law Firm and put on a mock trial at the Hamilton County Courthouse. Though it was interesting to learn more about careers I was already interested in, it was eye-opening to have sessions about public health, local business, and the arts as well. “The law session was my favorite as well. That is a profession I am interested in and it was really interesting to have real lawyers come in and tell us about their profession and answer some questions I didn’t have answered before,” said Delsignore. “That was one of the most surreal experiences of the program,” added Delsignore.

   In addition to all the places you get to visit, the people you get to do it with are an advantage of the program as well. There are 45 student participants and they come from schools all over Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati. Because some schools are more rural, some more urban, and some students being homeschooled, this program is a great opportunity to meet peers you might have otherwise never interacted with.

   Everyone comes from very diverse backgrounds and that has been one of the most rewarding parts of the entire program. I have gotten to speak to students whose grades have graduating classes of only 25 kids and others who are homeschooled. It is really nice to get outside of a Sycamore “bubble” and get exposure to a variety of peers. 

   All in all, I hope my experience with RYL helped you get some insight into the program and maybe even consider applying. If you get the chance to attend, make sure to be an active participant because that way you will surely gain a lot of insight and exposure from the experience.

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