The Inner Harbor Project has developed a new Leadership Training consisting of 12 paid weekly sessions over three months, taking place twice a year in the fall and spring. After completing the training, Youth Leaders who pass the assessment will be promoted to Youth Associate Leaders (YALs), who receive a pay increase in return for increased responsibilities and opportunities. In addition to bolstering the merit-based promotion and leadership structure within the organization, the Leadership Training will also provide participants with crucial professional and life skills that they will be able to use far beyond their time at the Inner Harbor Project.
We caught up with Deyonta Hosear, one of the youth leaders in the first cohort of the Leadership Training, to get his take on the training. Deyonta is a twelfth grader at Edmondson Westside. He plans to attend college next fall and is currently deciding which college to go to. Deyonta plays lacrosse and runs track. He started working at the Inner Harbor Project in November 2016.
What was the first session of the Leadership Training course like?
The first session caught me by surprise, actually. I thought that it was going to be a larger group, first of all. But then I realized that these were the top-of-the-top people. In the first lesson, we were going over the basics. What is leadership, things leaders do, and then we went over different types of leaders. There are four leaders in total. Autocratic leaders, bureaucratic leaders, charismatic leaders, and democratic leaders. The last thing we went over were qualities of a leader, characteristics that would determine if someone had leadership skills.
What type of leader did you identify most with?
I feel like I would consider myself a charismatic leader, which is one who provides an atmosphere full of support and positive reinforcement. I feel like it’s easy for me to talk to people. I’ve never had a problem starting a conversation. Normally, if I’m in class, if no one knows the answer, I’ll speak up.
Is there a leadership trait that you would like to work on over the course of this training?
Public speaking, speaking in front of a large crowd. It’s not necessarily hard, but it’s not one of my best things to do. It has to be a good environment [for me to feel comfortable].
You are college-bound in the fall. How do you think you could use these skills in a college setting?
I will try to influence things among my peers and guide things on the right path. There are other freshman I’m going to meet, and I’ll be able to influence them to do the right thing from the things that I’ve been taught. The same goes for the lacrosse and indoor track teams—I’m definitely going to be pushing them to do better.
With the election of Donald Trump, the social landscape of America feels like it is changing a lot. How do you see the relevance of the Inner Harbor Project evolving as these changes take place?
I’d say the best thing is to revert back to positivity. Don’t even indulge in the negativity at all. If things get negative at all–that’s not how we do things at the Inner Harbor Project.
Stay tuned for interviews with other youth leaders as they go through the Leadership Training!