Taking inspiration from LIFT Wyoming, a LIFT Junior event was held recently at Southridge Elementary with all of the 5th-grade students to help them learn about different leadership styles.

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According to a press release by the Natrona County School District, LIFT Junior started after Megan Propp, a 5th-grade teacher at Southridge, saw the benefit of LIFT Wyoming over the years on high school students.

LIFT Wyoming, which stands for Leader Inspire Fulfill Together, aims to promote leadership and opportunity in Wyoming youth, with a focus on positively impacting Wyoming’s future.

Propp, who serves on the board of LIFT Wyoming, thought of the idea of a LIFT Junior event with another teacher, Jessica Frank, and principal Sonya Tuttle.

The two-day event had students learn about four leadership styles: charismatic leaders, participative leaders, transformational leaders, and quiet leaders from guest speaker Bill Lyons.

Propp worked with four Natrona County High School students Jace Brezina, Cody Crawford, Tyler Hill, and Erin Weibel to develop and teach the sessions.

"These four students were phenomenal in taking my plan and making it their own," Propp said. "One of my favorite moments was watching the high schoolers take vision and run with it to create an amazing experience for our 5th graders."


Crawford and Brezina helped students develop three ways to make situations better by following a problem-solving plan.

When asked what advice he would give a younger student, Crawford said, "I would tell a younger student to not be afraid to make mistakes, and to surround yourself with people that build you up and keep you accountable."

Weibel shared techniques and ideas for how to look at things with a positive mindset and gratitude after reading the book "Perfect Square."

Weibel said, "Oftentimes, the younger students need a nudge not to fall into peer pressure. If they see older students like me at LIFT and other types of activities, it might inspire them to set goals to be leaders themselves. I know when I was their age, I always looked up to the older athletes and high school students. You never know when someone is watching you, whether it is another kid or an adult. You might be inspiring them without even realizing it."

Students also completed a service project with Debbie Mestas from the Fleece Blanket Project and made 25 blankets for those in need in the community.

Tanya Southerland, Director of Public Relations for the NCSD, said that they hope to be able to host it again next year.

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