Living Leadership
National Teen Leadership Program

April 2020 Edition, E–Newsletter

Living Leadership is a bi-monthly newsletter by NTLP highlighting Alumni's

success, upcoming events that NTLP will be hosting,

and other leadership development opportunities of interest.
May 2nd to May 30th
Learn More
Brandon Alcala
This is Brandon Alcala, a high school senior at Jesuit High School in Sacramento, CA, and an NTLP alum! We took some time to talk last week to check in with him and see how he is doing. 

Like so many high school seniors, Brandon’s senior year has been derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Brandon’s plans to create those last senior memories with his friends-prom, graduation, spring sports- had to be given up when his school announced they would be moving to distance learning for the rest of the school year. Many teens, himself included, also have to face the anxiety of living in a time of world-wide crisis.

Brandon expresses that moving to the online schooling system had its challenges. Luckily, his school had already set students up with Google Classroom, so Brandon and his peers already had a strong understanding of the platform. Brandon also acknowledged that at his school, they are all required to have ipads, a privilege that allowed him and his fellow students to have a smoother transition. Although he had been using Google Classroom at his school as an additional support, and he had access to the required technologies, moving the entire curriculum to it meant giving up the ability to come together with his peers in person. Brandon expressed that not being able to have face-to-face teacher interaction makes it difficult to “close the gaps” in his understanding of the material.

Brandon says that what he will miss the most is being with friends and creating memories inside and outside the classroom. Like most seniors, dealing with this loss has ups and downs, he says “it is what it is, I can’t change that, but I wish I had my friends with me”. However, in spite of the physical distance, Brandon is still creating meaningful opportunities to connect with his peers. He often chats with friends via Zoom, as well as hang out in the park with them. Brandon says “Just being with each other is something special”, whether it’s texting in a group chat or taking a walk, expressing that the communication and friendship are very much still present.

In addition to adapting his friendships, Brandon continues to look toward his future. He continues to work with his dad and plan for his higher education. With school counselors largely unavailable, Brandon and other seniors are having to navigate college applications and future decisions on their own. He expresses that having confidence and self-knowledge is essential at this time, saying “ You’re the one that has to know for yourself, you’re the one that has to guide yourself. It’s a new step.” Brandon will be attending UC Merced in the fall.

Brandon and his peers are facing a unique and unprecedented situation. Navigating school, friendships, and the future is a difficult feat for any teenager in normal circumstances, and the pandemic adds to the stress and uncertainty. However, with strength, flexibility, and perseverance, Brandon and his peers will overcome this challenge, paving the way for young leaders in the future. We asked Brandon if he would like to say anything to his fellow classmates and other high school seniors he said, “My thoughts and prayers are with you all in these uncertain times. There is so much change in our lives we didn’t expect. Stay strong and we will all get past through this and be stronger for it.” 
Casey Van Attenhoven
Meet Casey Van Attenhoven, another incredible alumna! When Casey first attended NTLP in 2007, she wasn’t sure what to expect. Casey says “My mom heard about NTLP through a coworker, signed me up and told me I was going. I knew nothing about it. Before NTLP I was a very shy and nervous person, so not knowing anyone I was really scared, but still excited.” When Casey first arrived at camp, she felt instantly welcomed after meeting our founder, Laura Segura, “The thing I will never forget is while I was in the checkout line I got to meet Laura, and she knew my name and who I was. That made a huge impact on me, because it showed me that they cared and I was welcomed.” Casey says she remembers every detail about her first camp, and returned as a participant in the next three consecutive camps. Attending four NTLP camps helped Casey develop a strong sense of self-confidence and purpose, “Before NTLP, I was unsure of who I was and what I wanted. When I left camp I was more self assured in my identity, and I knew I wanted to impact people in a positive way.”

In order to continue her goal of making a positive difference, Casey joined our volunteer staff in 2011 and returned to staff in 2018 and 2019. She says of the staffing experience, “I had so much fun, I saw NTLP in a new light, and I created closer bonds with the other staff members.” Not only was Casey an exceptional addition to our camp staff, she also served on the Curriculum Committee for our 2019 camp.

Casey attended Chico State University, where she earned a BA in English, a Masters in Education, and a Single-Subject Teaching Credential. She currently works at Corning Union High School teaching English at the ninth and tenth grade level. Her work with NTLP has helped her better relate to her students and develop meaningful activities and discussions in her classroom. Casey currently lives in Chico, CA with her boyfriend Mason and her two adorable cats, Corny and Salem.

Casey says, “I believe NTLP made me who I am today. I want to help foster that same transformation in teens. I want them to see their potential that they don't realize is there.” We are so lucky to have such a passionate leader in our community!
Summer Leadership Camp Cancelled
As announced earlier this month, NTLP no longer has a viable option to host camp this summer and we have made the difficult decision to cancel our 2020 leadership camp originally hosted on the Sacramento State University campus. The safety of our teens, volunteer staff, and our community is of upmost importance. As leaders in creating positive environments that empower, inspire and educate all teens, we want to lead by example and keep our community safe.
28th Anniversary Celebration Cancelled
Unfortunately with the COVID-19 pandemic, NTLP has also decided to cancel our 28th Anniversary Fundraising Gala originally planned for September. Being our largest annual fundraiser, we are disappointed we are unable to host this special event where we celebrate the year with many familiar faces and make new friends.
We encourage you to support our fundraising efforts as we plan virtual events in the coming weeks. Our ability to fundraise is critical as it enables us to further our vision to develop the leader within every teen and support their leadership development and mental well-being – particularly in this challenging time.
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The National Teen Leadership Program is committed to creating positive environments that empower, inspire and educate all teens to discover and maximize their unique leadership potential and embrace the diversity and equal value of everyone. | 800-550-1950 |
PO Box 956, Sacramento, California 95812