DENVER, Colo. — Brian Knighton and RJ Taylor of Moultrie recently traveled to Denver to present at the Engaged Scholarship Consortium conference.

Knighton and Taylor were there along with members from the Archway Partnership, presenting on their work with Leadership Legends, a youth development program they started in Moultrie.

The ESC is the premier conference in the country for universities devoted to their public service mission, according to a press release from the Archway Partnership. The conference is designed to bring together faculty and staff from all over the country to share ideas and best practices for connecting with and finding solutions for communities. UGA had representatives from the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership, the Archway Partnership and Cooperative Extension.  

Knighton and Taylor presented along with Archway Operations Coordinator Michelle Elliott, Colquitt Archway Professional Sarah Adams and J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership faculty member Terence Johnson. The Leadership Legends program in Moultrie is designed for young, African-American males to learn about leadership development.

Johnson is the facilitator of the program and confident in its direction.

“These young men are building a solid foundation based on proven leadership principles. It is exciting to see their rapid growth and hunger for learning new ways to approach a variety of leadership challenges,” he said.

“These young men are on their way to becoming local Legends! I have full confidence that we are sitting with some of the future leadership in Colquitt County,” he said.

The program was started as a three-year pilot program to expose participants to community service, economic development and the importance of education. Leadership Legends partners with the Boys and Girls Club and is now entering its second year.

Year one of the program was all about immersing the student as a leader and year two will be about demystifying the board room and other leadership spaces such as the city council.

“We are exposing the Legends to local and regional businesses as well as historical events that shaped our government,” Johnson said. “They will learn how it all connects to them, and how important it is for them to be a part of a bigger discussion. They will continue to learn leadership skills that will aid them now and in their future endeavors.”

The common theme in the session at ESC was the importance of relations and mentors. Knighton noted that he would sometimes call a missing participant, ask where they were and say he was coming to pick them up. The trust and faith in each other is what makes the program work and keeps retention at 100%, the press release said.

“I am humbled to have had the opportunity to share the amazing work of Leadership Legends and the impact it will have on the community for years to come!” Knighton said. “The conference provided insight on the many great initiatives taking place across the United States at the various institutions.

“Archway and Leadership Legends was received in a positive light,” he said. “Our approach was unique due to the fact that when we presented, we were the ‘boots on the grounds’ and able to speak firsthand on the program itself.”  

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