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6th Annual Becky Skillman Leadership Institute Inspires Leaders
Updated June 18, 2018 7:59 AM
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(BEDFORD) - After a week filled with learning experiences and volunteer opportunities, the Youth Leadership Academy ends with the Becky Skillman Leadership Institute.

The event is a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence County that strives to build leaders in the up coming generations.

"I learned you really need to try new things and even if you don't think its going to be fun, go in with a positive attitude and have fun with it. Because if you don't then it wont be fun. but if you do, you will have fun," said Emma, an incoming Freshman at Bedford North Lawrence about what she has learned from YLA.


The Becky Skillman Leadership Institute's motto is to 'Cherish the Past, Embrace the Future'. And exactly that was delivered as Indiana Attorney General, Curtis T. Hill Jr. and Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) Historian, Donald Davidson were both keynote speakers at the Becky Skillman Leadership Institute.

Hadley Hawkins, Indiana's Youth of the Year, introduced Attorney General Hill just after she presented her Youth of the Year speech.

Attorney General Hill had three points to make to the attendees of the event.

"George Washington was one of my heroes... Reserve and preserve your army for a better day. He was roundly criticized for retreating battle after battle after battle. - not standing and fighting. But he knew he wasn't ready until the final victory and took the final fight at Yorktown," said Attorney General Hill.

"That's what leadership is all about:recognizing when you're vulnerable, when you're at risk and rising to the occasion."

Attorney General Hill went on to tell a story about how he helped his substitute teacher calm his fellow classmates and bring the room to order when he was in second grade. The positive impression he made on his substitute teacher followed him through out his life.


"The point of this is, you never really know when something that you do will have an impact on your later life. I was in second grande - seven or eight years of age. And this was a little minor thing that happened and it followed me for the next 30 years from a reputation stand point," said Attorney General Hill.

The final point: listen and learn how not to use power. The ability to listen to other opinions and to persuade, or inspire, makes a leader a great one.

"Force is never real leadership," said Attorney General Hill.

Attorney General Hill proceeded to detail his vision on what needs to happen to the criminal justice system.

"If we look at who goes in our criminal justice system, lets start with the 12 year old child before that child has determined whether he is going to go down the path of substance abuse or criminal behavior... and what kind of resources can we provide to keep that from happening," said Attorney General Hill.

After lunch Donald Davidson, IMS Historian, shared his knowledge and the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"I got a kick out of the logo that says 'Cherish the Past' and 'Embrace the Future'. I don't like to think about now or the future, I cherish the passed," said Davidson laughing.

Along with Attorney General Hill and Davidson, local leaders shared their knowledge in two separate panels.

The Business Panel consisted of Gene McCracken, Lawrence County Commissioner; Judy Elliot, owner and matriarch of Elliott Stone Company; Dave Jacobs, owner of Bedford Furniture Galleries and Jack Kenworthy, President at Bedford Federal Savings Bank.

The Leadership Board consisted of Dr. Angela Lewis, Corporate Operations Department Director and Business Director for Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Crane Division; Sara Johnson, Clinical Assistant Professor for the IU School of Public and Enviroment Affairs and Director of IU Execution Education and Dr. Angel Reece, Principal at Solidity Consulting.

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