High school students have unique challenges in front of them. While still maturing and getting to know themselves, they are faced with important decisions about their futures. They’re asking themselves questions such as, “Should I go to college? If so, where? What should I study? Should I take a gap year? What kind of work experience is most valuable?”
Ledge Leadership has created a program for high school students called Waypoint that is designed to help them find answers to those questions. The starting point is to help students explore their natural abilities through the Highlands Ability Battery (HAB).
Ledge has found that youth who understand their natural abilities are able to express their strengths and challenges to employers, have clear direction about post secondary education, and lead more effectively in their communities.
The Waypoint program includes four stages, as outlined in the graphic below:
According to Melri Wright, a Highlands Consultant with Ledge Leadership, they were very pleased with the results of the first program and plan to run it again. Most of the participants completed all four stages, and everyone reported that the program gave them a clearer picture of their futures. Those who had been uncertain about past school decisions expressed understanding as to why those programs were not the right fit. They expressed increased knowledge about their abilities, strengths, challenges, and learning styles, as well as appreciation for having richer language to describe themselves to employers, family, and peers.
As one participant expressed, “As a student trying to figure out where I want to go, Waypoint was incredibly helpful. If you want to know what makes you tick and what your strengths and weaknesses are, this program is amazing.” Another student found confirmation through the program: “I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but this solidified it.”
Many other students who have taken the Highlands Ability Battery have also voiced how helpful it is to get an objective understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. Elizabeth’s story is a good example of how that knowledge can give students confidence as they enter college that they are pursuing a career path to which they are well suited.
We are inspired and encouraged by the way the HAB is being used by Ledge Leadership to positively influence the lives of young students. Ledge was formed 40 years ago as a grassroots organization, training youths to adopt a new approach to team leadership that is rooted in a whole person philosophy.
As they state on their website, “We believe that young leaders who are resilient, flexible, open minded, and accept accountability . . . can establish the lasting, collaborative relationships necessary to develop and implement workable solutions. These individuals will become a vital source for change now and into the future.”
Melri Wright has trained and mentored youth and youth workers since 1990 and has been a Highlands consultant since 2006. She is part of the team that directs Ledge Leadership, an organization that focuses on youth, young adults, and organizations who want to increase their capacity to lead. Melri is passionate about investing in youth and adults and seeing them develop their self-awareness and confidence. Highlands is a valuable resource she provides to individuals because understanding their natural abilities gives people tools to express their strengths and challenges to employers, more clarity about next steps during times of transition, and greater effectiveness as they lead in their communities.