Leadership Door County is Providing Students with Positive Options

A special event to raise awareness regarding extracurricular activities available to middle school students was held Tuesday, April 29 at Sturgeon Bay’s Thomas J. Walker Middle School.

This first-ever “Student Interest Fair” involved fourteen area non-profit organizations, approximately 220 students, their parents and interested community members. The event was organized and sponsored by the Leadership Door County class of 2007-2008, with the goal of connecting area students with community organizations offering programs for those aged 10 – 13.

Leadership Door County (LDC) class members designed the program with the belief that supporting student involvement in positive extracurricular activities may lessen the likelihood that these students will instead be drawn to risky or damaging behavior, such as use of alcohol or other drugs.

Boys and Girls Club representative Sally Weber Hasenfus observed, “Giving students knowledge about their options gives them the power to make choices about their future. It was wonderful for these kids to recognize that there are a huge variety of options available to them.”

Echoing comments from other event participants, Hasenfus called the event “absolutely worthwhile” and expressed her interest in future participation.

The Student Interest Fair was scheduled during school hours for students in grades 5, 6 and 7 and began with brief introductions by each participating organization, followed by a session during which students were able to visit booths manned by organization representatives to obtain details regarding participation. Sign-up sheets provided at the booths were filled with over 250 student signatures, indicating their interest. Organization representatives were also available to answer questions and provide information to parents and community members from 6 – 7 pm that evening in the same location.

The concept for this unique event was developed by the Leadership Door County (LDC) class of 2007-2008, comprised of nine community members. Leadership Door County is an organization committed to identifying existing and potential leaders and promoting opportunities for service in the volunteer and public sectors. Class participants meet monthly to learn about businesses and resources throughout the county.

The wealth of community organizations offering activities to students came as a welcome surprise to LDC class members. Participant Julie Brown explained, “I am a local resident and parent, but was unaware of the multitude of activities available to students in this age group. Through my involvement with Leadership Door County, I learned of the options and quickly recognized the value in sharing this information with the larger community.”

Based upon the success of this first-ever event, LDC class members are optimistic that similar programs will be repeated in subsequent years and at other schools throughout the area. A compilation of the associated planning resources and contacts has been assembled to assist schools and organizations interested in hosting or participating in this type of event. For additional information, contact Karen Nordahl at 920.839.2369.

For information regarding Leadership Door County, including participant applications for the 2008-2009 program, visit

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