FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Leadership Broward concluded the inaugural Follow the Leader in You (FLY) Program for eighth graders attending Title 1 Broward County Public Schools with a special focus on students from the Prosperity Broward designated zip codes.

Organizers said the FLY program was created to reach potential youth leaders to inspire them to find and follow the leader in themselves.

Two critical components of the program included reorienting participants’ self-perception so that they can recognize the leadership qualities they possess, and leading participants to recognize and reinforce the leadership qualities they see in each other.


Nearly 100 eighth grade students participated over the course of three program days. The first day took place in a classroom setting with facilitators who worked with students to define leadership, develop emotional intelligence, self-awareness, time management and goal setting. The skills that the students learned were to empower and prepare them for their high school years.

The second program day involved team building activities, including the Broward College Tigertail Lake Recreation Center ropes course, which offered students learning opportunities about risk-taking, performing under pressure, collaboration and support dynamics among team members.

One collaboration, titled Marble Madness, had the students placed in groups to create a device that would transport a marble as slowly as possible.

“They had to work with limited sources and learn to work together to create the device,” said Dr. Meka Mears, chair of the FLY Committee and chief administrative officer of P&M Healthcare.

“It was a terrific lesson in how roles are defined as we come together as a group to create something or solve a problem. Here they learned about themselves as leaders, whether they emerged as the constructor or the problem solver or strong communicator. It was fantastic watching these kids interact, work together and trust each other to accomplish the goals of the exercises.”


The program concluded with leadership training that reinforced what was learned on the first two days, a High School & College Readiness Training by Broward College, a wrap up debrief and leadership intention walk.

The founding sponsors of the FLY Program include Truist Foundation, Broward Health, Shutts & Bowen and Broward College. The organizers are recruiting sponsors for future FLY programs.”

“As a graduate of the Leadership Broward program, I know firsthand the impact that programs like this can have on adults,” said Jamie Wasserman, a partner in Shutts & Bowen’s Fort Lauderdale office. “My hope is that together we can mold these students into the leaders we all know they can be.”

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