The Columbia County Chamber of Commerce is accepting applications for participants in its Youth Leadership Program, Class of 2009.
The initiative is designed to enable young leaders to take an active role in the community.
The program, now in its 10th year, is open to Columbia County residents who are rising high-school sophomores or juniors. Private school students who live in Columbia County also are eligible to apply, as are home-schooled students.
"We're looking for committed individuals that want to learn and want this exposure," said Michelle Piper, a First Bank of Georgia assistant vice president who is a chairwoman for the program.
The program runs from August through April and the group will meet once each month.
Students will learn about county history and meet business and community leaders.
Students also are required to attend a board of commissioners and a school board meeting. They will travel to Atlanta one day to meet area legislators and must perform 20 hours of community service.
Piper said applicants should have good grades because they will have to miss school to attend the monthly sessions.
"We want them to see what the careers are and learn about community service," said John T.Y. Smith, of Towsley's Promotional Marketing Group, a co-chairman of the initiative. "When they graduate from college, we want them to come back to Columbia County."
Chris Baum, the Chamber's director of programs, said more than 60 students applied for 28 spots last year.
She said interviews will be held in mid-April.
Applications are available at Evans, Greenbrier, Harlem and Lakeside high schools, Augusta Preparatory Day School, Augusta Christian Schools and the Chamber office. An application also can be downloaded online at www.columbiacountychamber.com/ YOUTHLEADERSHIP.html.
Applications must be returned to the Chamber office, 4424 Evans to Locks Road, Evans, by noon March 28.
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