Hey Sophomores, join JLM!


Denny Lu, Editor

Attention all rising juniors, interested in refining your leadership traits and stand out of your peers? Consider joining the Junior Leadership Manatee Class of 2021. Junior Leadership Manatee (JLM) is part of a district-wide initiative to support local teens interested in serving our community after their educational careers. In Manatee County, there is a wealth of careers and resources to explore. The ideal candidates are outgoing, high-achieving high school students who have a passion for serving the needs and demands of the region. JLM students enhance their current knowledge about community issues and resources through regionally-sponsored tours.

As a junior in the JLM program, students will experience six themed tours that JLM provides. These are tours that encompass a wide array of industries and jobs in Manatee County. Some of the local careers include law enforcement, agriculture, human resources, entertainment, healthcare and natural parks. These “thematic” experiences help encourage and engage JLM participants through active tours and team-building exercises that help motivate future leaders about their role within this community. Despite the ongoing pandemic, JLM tours and events are still being held in-person. The program strongly adheres to social distancing, and masking is required in order to make the gathering the safest for all participants.

There’s No “I” in “Team”–Juniors can enroll to be part of the Junior Leadership Manatee program online. Madison Burt enrolled to be one of the juniors who participated in this program back in 2019. “We came together as a team which was amazing,” Burt said.

From Bradenton to Palmetto and Myakka City, JLM’s events offer students a glimpse into the diverse lifestyles in Manatee County that come together to form our local community. Some of the major highlights this year included the behind-the-scenes tours that most students may not have access to normally. Senior Madison Burt,  proud JLM alumni, recounts her experiences as part of the program.

“Through JLM, I’ve met so many new friends that I wouldn’t have been able to get to know,” said Burt. “As a senior on the JLM Board of Directors, I am able to plan out the events and make sure that this year went according to plan. Last year when the lockdown started, we had just finished our Culture and Recreation Day tours which will be the final destination for this year JLM Class of 2021.”

Each tour the students go on has a different theme because it helps to shed light on local industry. Students are taken on a journey to explore the attractions that make Bradenton and Manatee County a unique center for the arts and leisure. On this last JLM calendar event, the tour consists of exploring the newly renovated Bishop Museum, Manatee Performing Arts Center, and the Easter Seals non-profit organization. Throughout the year, many JLM students can agree that they have discovered new interests that can spark their future careers in Manatee County.

A Breath of Fresh Air–Junior Jessica Burdette explores the Jones Potato Farm during JLM’s Agriculture Day. Burdette decided to participate in this adventure because of an interest in local farming practices. “I especially enjoyed visiting the potato farm–never knew Florida can grow potatoes,” Burdette said.

Junior Jessica Burdette reflected thoughtfully on her experience.

“Although the pandemic brought challenges for all of us this year, I was glad that this program allowed me to see how dedicated our friends, neighbors, and leaders are in order to make Manatee County work for us,” Burdette said.

Apply online by visiting this site.