Virtual version of Youth Leadership Conference, Education Abroad Fair highlight spring semester’s second week

Future leaders need a panoply of knowledge — civics, basic economics, government — and skills — people savvy, logistical aptitude, communications ability. Next week, Norwich will stoke leadership aptitude in high school students through a virtual version of the Youth Leadership Conference.

The conference, running Friday through Sunday, highlights the events calendar for the Spring 2021 semester’s second full week.

Ann Brechbuhl, Norwich’s recruitment and leadership programs director, said 37 high school students registered for this year’s Youth Leadership Conference from several U.S. states (Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York and Oregon) and abroad (Perala, India).

The Military Order of the World Wars sponsors the virtual Youth Leadership Conference, delivering curriculum that meets National Association of Secondary School Principals standards.

The Military Order of the World Wars sponsors the conference, delivering curriculum that meets National Association of Secondary School Principals standards. Discussion and hands-on activity will cover the civics topics including U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights and the U.S. Supreme Court, along with personal finance, free enterprise, leadership and effective communications, both oral and written. 

Although the conference is traditionally held in January, Brechbuhl said coincidental nearness to Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s presidential inauguration will add interest to the conference’s civics lessons.

The Military Order of the World Wars, established in 1919, 100 years after Norwich University, lives by the motto, “It is nobler to serve than to be served.” As the order outlined on its website, students from public, charter and private high schools or who are home-schooled usually participate in Youth Leadership Conferences as juniors or seniors. Multiday conferences run in 17 U.S. states; participation is free.

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Although Youth Leadership Conference participants won’t meet in person, as they did in January 2016, they’ll learn together online. (Photo courtesy College of Graduate and Continuing Studies.)

Norwich’s rendition of the virtual Youth Leadership Conference, which will also run March 26 through March 28, will also cover applying for college, federal service academies, ROTC scholarships and financial aid.

The ROTC information fits the mission of both the order, which sponsors awards programs for ROTC and Junior ROTC cadet (JROTC) programs, and the university, which is ROTC’s birthplace. Norwich hosts ROTC programs for all five Defense Department armed forces branches — the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Space Force.

Before entering the Youth Leadership Conference, students submitted essays for a contest. In 500 words or fewer, they described United States citizens’ responsibilities to uphold the Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

After the conference, the order evaluates top youth leadership conference graduates’ essays and chooses the best, presenting the Phoenician Award and cash prizes to the national winner, first runner up and second runner up.

Click here for information on the January Youth Leadership Conference and here for information on the March session.

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LOOKING ABROAD: Friday will also feature a virtual Education Abroad Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students can see details on study abroad and away programs and speak to officials from Norwich University about NU Expeditions programs in China and France and study away exchange opportunities in Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Oceania.

Norwich officials will also discuss domestic study away chances in the U.S. Virgin Islands (NU Expedition) and Denver and Washington, D.C. (both City:Labs).

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Olivia Bloom ’20 describes her studies abroad during a dinner at Plumley Armory in Feburary 2020. Bloom went abroad twice during her Norwich studies, to Chengdu, China, in summer 2017 and to Cusco, Peru, in fall 2018. (Photo by Mark Collier/Norwich University.)

In spring 2019, Norwich established the international platoon, a new Corps of Cadets section promoting abroad study and supporting arriving international students and American students before and after abroad studies. Norwich sent a record 95 students, both civilian and Corps, abroad and away for the fall 2019 semester.

Thomas Blood, Norwich’s assistant director of education abroad, said Friday’s fair will emphasize the growth, personal and academic, study abroad and away enables.

“The world is incredibly complicated and people are finding that having an international experience helps them to take their major, their new understanding of what … they want to do in life and broaden it out (and) get a new perspective,” Blood said Friday. “One thing that study abroad returnees consistently say is, ‘I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know.’ When they come back … they realize they can handle things that they didn’t think they could handle.”

Click here for information on the Education Abroad Fair.

— GETTING ACCLIMATED: Norwich’s Residential Life staff will lead an orientation webinar for returning students from 1 to 2 p.m. Tuesday. Discussion topics will include the campus quarantine and coronavirus pandemic-related living, dining and health protocols. In a second Tuesday webinar — this one designed for prospective students — from 6 to 7 p.m., a student panel will discuss the civilian lifestyle — residence halls, clubs and activities.

Click here for orientation webinar details and here for civilian student lifestyle webinar details.

— SKIS? WHEE!: The Campus Activities Board will present an Introduction to Nordic Skiing event from 3:45 to 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Shaw Outdoor Center, gear and instruction provided. Click here for details.

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Click here for a complete listing of upcoming events at Norwich University.


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