Columns/Opinion, Letters to the Editor

YLA program critical for future leadership

Jill Cranston Rice, Morgantown
This year, the West Virginia Youth Leadership Association (YLA) will present the 2018 Spirit of the Mountains Lewis N. McManus YLA Service Award to WVU President E. Gordon Gee.
As one of America’s most prominent higher education leaders and an advocate for brighter futures for not only WVU students but also youth across our entire state, the YLA is proud to honor him at its Spirit of the Mountains reception scheduled for Thursday (April 26) in Charleston.
The YLA presents this award annually to a person who demonstrates the characteristics of the award’s namesake, Lewis N. McManus. McManus, like Gee, demonstrated a lifelong commitment to helping others, working hard, responsible citizenship and building better futures for all, especially youth.
McManus began volunteering with YLA in 1964 when he first entered the Legislature’s House of Delegates. As a legislator, he was a strong advocate for West Virginia’s young people and continued his commitment to West Virginia’s youth through his lifelong involvement with YLA.
YLA’s mission is to help youth develop leadership and citizenship skills for a lifelong commitment to service through character building programs that strengthen spirit, mind and body.
It hosts programs such as Youth in Government, Model United Nations, Teen Entrepreneurship and Leadership Summits, and Youth Opportunity and the Governor’s Adventure Camps for low income 7-12 year olds.
The Spirit of the Mountains event that will honor Gee next week will help raise necessary financial support for these important programs.
Now more than ever, YLA’s programs are critical to provide positive leadership and citizenship opportunities for our state’s young people.
I encourage you to learn more about YLA and the Spirit of the Mountains event by visiting