For 2013 Findlay High School graduate Sam Duling, the start of classes at the University of Toledo can’t come soon enough. It was through the Hancock Leadership program that Duling found his interest and great enthusiasm in what will be his major there – political science and communication.
During his senior year, Duling was a member of Engage Youth Council, was on the Youth Advisory Board for the Findlay-Hancock County Public Library and was president of the National Honor Society. While each leadership and service role was rewarding, Duling found Hancock Youth Leadership to be life-changing. Duling completed the program as a junior, then served as a student mentor and HYL board member his senior year.
The 18-year-old has been busy this summer. In June, Sam spent a week volunteering at Camp Discovery, a math and science camp for 1st through 5th graders. He sat in with the Hancock County auditor’s board of revisions to learn more about local government, and, through contacts he’s made, has likely secured himself an internship with Rep. Bob Latta’s office this fall. To relax, he’s been spending time with friends and reading, but feels that it’s when he’s busy that he thrives.
What is Hancock Youth Leadership?
“It is essentially a leadership program that helps students from all around the county. You have to apply and write an essay. Once you’re admitted to the program, the Board of Hancock Youth Leadership fashions a program for the year where you meet with about 40 other kids. You go throughout the community and see what makes it function and prosper. There are different categories for the sessions such as agriculture, county government, justice and law…then you usually travel to different locations to be educated by someone who works in that field.”
Which session was most rewarding to you?
“Justice and law was most rewarding, because I do want to go into politics someday, and that day we were connected with people in the community who talked about how our local government works. So many kids my age say they want to be president someday, but they overlook and skip so many steps. That day gave me information I’ll take with me throughout my career.”
What would you say to a student who is considering the program?
“I would say definitely go for it. It’s the most effective, fun and eye-opening leadership program that I have ever partaken in…It changed the way I look at the community, potential friends, and changed the way I carry myself. It’s so evident that you have been in the program because those that do go through HYL, they’re often leaders throughout their lives. It has a profound, positive effect on your character.”