Student leadership is one of the greatest predictors for academic and future success. It is a skill that is taught through modelling and ongoing practise in the home, school, and/or community.
Cooper Legler, a Grade 12 student at the Seven Summits Centre for Learning in Rossland, is an active volunteer, group motivator, and leader.
Legler first garnered attention last September when he repaired a timing hut at Black Jack Ski Club to complete his Eagle Scout rank with Scouts of America. In attaining this rank, Legler accomplished a goal that less than eight per cent of all scouts achieve.
This noteworthy achievement offers insight into the teenage mind, motivation, philanthropy, and leadership. Numerous scientific studies show that teen brains are not yet fully developed. At an age when connections between the emotional and decision-making portions of the brain are still maturing, supporting students to become social-conscience leaders has long-term positive effects on their development and our society.
According to Legler, being around leaders helps teens create leadership skills and embrace challenges. “Do a Good Turn Daily” is the scout’s motto — which requires people to be active, show-up, and participate.
“I didn’t set out to gain the title of leader; I just wanted to help people and get involved where I could make a tangible difference,” says Legler.
The timing hut project made sense to him as it was both a personal and logical decision supported by his friends, family, and community. “It’s a great start when a student’s family models and promotes participation and leadership, as I am the third generation to get this Eagle Scout rank, but teens can make their own difference regardless,” says Legler.
What is the takeaway for parents or self-directed teens who want to do better, get involved, and benefit from the good feeling of accomplishment? “Become part of a team, student council, yearbook club or anything that interests you so as part of the group you can work towards making a difference and learn valuable skills along the way,” says Legler. “Just show up. It’s about the role, not the goal.”
Community leadership opportunities such as scouting or a learning environment like Seven Summits Centre for Learning, provide training and modelling for leadership and self-efficacy skills. Self-efficacy is the core of an individual’s belief in their capability to achieve, which when paired with motivation based on the student’s want to achieve, creates impactful results.
As for Legler’s future plans, he has a strong interest in English studies, history, and second languages.
“I plan to study political science and international relations with the goal to land a diplomatic career position,” says Legler. “I want to help be an instrument for change and make a longstanding impact on the world. Peace between nations and that sort of thing. I plan to show up and do the work.”
For now, as part of the graduating year at Seven Summits Centre for Learning, Legler is excited about the continued opportunities to grow, serve, volunteer, and provide leadership to the younger students.