Future leaders gather at GILA


Cristal McGill

By DOROTHY WILLIAMS, staff writer

Fourteen Galena high school students got together this month (April) for a leadership training course called LeadWell. LeadWell’s lead trainer, Cristal McGill, with help from some dorm staff coaches, taught students about leadership, commitment, and optimism.

“I want to grow young leaders and to teach leadership skills. More importantly, I want to help the youth in Alaska to become community leaders, CEO leaders, government leaders – effectively leaders in anything,” said Ms. McGill.

The group met upstairs of the headquarters building in the large meeting room for an hour and a half a couple times a week. In the meetings, students first played a “brain wake” game, then had mini meetings within the meeting about things like the fundraiser Galena 2 Greenland, which raised money to help two Galena skiers go the 2016 Arctic Winter Games. There were different mini meetings every time the group met.

“I am really impressed with the young leaders who are taking part of this class. I feel grateful and privileged to know each and every one of them,” she said.

Jasmine Olson, a junior from Kaltag, put in a lot of commitment and dedication into the Galena 2 Greenland fundraiser for Carolyn Sam and Jacob Moos, the skiers who will be participating in the 2016 Arctic Winter Games in Greenland. She made posters, asked for volunteers and requested if the group use the GILA gym for the three-on-three fundraising tournament.

“This program helped me and others voice opinions correctly positively lead things for group fundraisers,” said Jasmine.

More than 30 students were nominated to be part of the LeadWell program.

“Students were nominated by a teacher, counselor , RA, community member, any adult, that adult completes an aptitude survey that determines the student’s aptitude for leadership the survey is weighted measurement that will give the students a score,” said Ms. McGill.

She said that the leadership aptitude was evaluated using the Student Inventory Survey (SIS), which gives a score. There were over 30 students nominated. LeadWell selected 20, and when the program finally started, there were 14 students, said Ms. McGill.

“I want to support and empower young leaders in Alaska to grow strong leadership skills so they can leave a legacy. I really want to help the Galena schools deliver this program and grow young leaders. I want to give Galena an effective leadership program to facilitate on their own.”

Tim Kalke, an adult LeadWell coach and GILA outdoor leadership teacher, is trying to get certified to be a lead trainer for Galena, which would be the same as Cristal McGill’s position.
Students said they got a lot out of the experience.

“I have learned a lot of skills… remaining optimistic because people do what the leader does and have a figure to look at,” said Jasmine.
Other students agreed.
“I learned how to be a good leader and how to get stuff done and organized fast,” said student leader Joe Apfelbeck, a junior from Galena. “This will help me get a job knowing I went through this program.”

The 14 students who were selected are:
Jasmine Olson
Eric Jones
Zelek McNeilly
Joe Apfelbeck
Carolyn Sam
Walter Lord III
Kristen Williamson
Melissa Isaac
Cedric Tall
Harold Naneng
Dorothy Williams
Patrick Newland
John Usugan
Brianna Wassillie

Adult Koaches (this is the correct spelling of the LeadWell coach):
Crystal McGill
Tim Kalke
Liza Ashley
Doug McClure
Heidi Renee McClure
Richard Ramage
Ineke Wilkinson