Legacy Youth Institute - Session #4 - Champions of FRIENDS
Branson Rec Plex

Legacy Youth Institute Learns How to Be a Catalyst for Change

Branson, MO – December 13, 2012 – The Legacy Youth Institute (LYI), a six-session leadership and mentoring program designed to equip student leaders to pass on the area’s “Ozark Mountain Spirit” to future generations, held its fourth session at the Branson RecPlex last week.

The session, titled “Championing Friends,” included an opportunity for students to interact with representatives of fifteen local non-profit organizations to discover how they, with the help of volunteers, work to meet the unmet needs of people in our community.

“Getting to hear about these organizations gave me hope. It’s nice to see that lots of people in our community have a happy and fulfilling life by giving to others,” said Tyler Startin, a student at Branson High School. The LYI students were impressed that there are so many organizations that actively serve the people of Stone and Taney counties, and that most rely heavily on volunteers to carry out their missions. Hollister High School student Taylor Van Gilder reflected, “Volunteering is obviously really important to getting things done.”

The LYI students were both encouraged and challenged by their interaction with these organizations. “It is an encouragement to know that there are people who have already tried and succeeded in developing things that make a difference,” said Maria Zobel, a homeschool student from Hollister. “It inspired me, and I want to share it with others,” said Reeds Spring High School student Rachel Allphin.

During this session, students also heard from Pastor Howard Boyd about how to be a catalyst for change in the community. Boyd explained the catalyst group model that has successfully birthed several important initiatives in both Taney and Stone Counties over the past several years, such as Faith Community Health, the newly opened EarthWise Recycling Center in Stone County, and the Ozark Mountain Legacy Initiative itself, including the Legacy Youth Institute.

The students also received valuable leadership training from John Baltes, Silver Dollar City Foundation President, who modeled how to effectively lead a group from varying perspectives toward consensus, a skill the students will utilize in coming months as they decide on which community initiative their group is going to develop and champion during their senior year. 

The next session of the Legacy Youth Institute, which will focus on “Championing Future,” will be held on Wednesday, January 16 at College of the Ozarks. For more information about the Legacy Youth Institute, please contact Ozark Mountain Legacy at (417) 598-1314, or visit or

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Legacy Youth Institute | PO Box 7070 | Branson, MO 65615 | 417-598-1314 |