Over a hundred students from nine different high schools in Porter County attended the 25th annual Leadership Conference at Liberty Bible Church in Chesterton.
The event was put together by Kiwanis Valparaiso, Rotary Valparaiso and Diane Warren, the Washington Township High School guidance counselor who said, "When it was originally founded, it was for kids to realize they're part of a larger community, and that their schools can have an impact on the communities around them."
Ted Weise, a nationally known motivational speaker out of Indianapolis came and spoke to the kids about leadership qualities, stating that, "Action is the key to leadership, but there is one reason why it's hard to take action. Fear. Fear gets in the way of people taking action. How do you overcome the fear? You overcome it by taking action and gaining experience, because experience leads to confidence. It's a cycle."
To communicate this, he demonstrated fear by blindfolding three girls and putting a "Canadian newt" in their hand, which was actually a gummy worm. Though relatively calm for girls, it was clear what he wanted to show - the fear of the unknown.
"If we did this same exercise again, you would probably eat the gummy worm right away, because you know what it is. You're not afraid anymore."
They then broke into groups, divided by decades from the 20's to the future, for different exercises establishing the importance of teamwork amidst leadership. Before breaking for lunch, they constructed a fashion show according to their time period, made of newspaper and tin foil.