Seventeen youth from across Butler County, Kansas will be graduating from Youth Leadership Butler on Jan. 28 at the Butler Community College Hubbard Welcome Center.

Seventeen youth from across Butler County, Kansas will be graduating from Youth Leadership Butler on Jan. 28 at the Butler Community College Hubbard Welcome Center.

The keynote speaker for the evening will be El Dorado Correctional Facility Warden James Heimgartner.

Heimgartner spoke to the youth at a session dealing with drugs and alcohol and he touched a chord with the participants where they continue to reference what he told them during the session. It seemed only fitting the warden be the keynote speaker for the event.

“The youth I have met in the Youth Leadership Butler program will replace the leaders of today, they are the replacements in our communities,” said Heimgartner. “It is important to see these young women and men as the leaders they are among their peers in Butler County and beyond.”

The 17 youth have participated in an extensive community leadership training program that encourages and empowers young people to become more active and focused in exercising leadership in their schools and communities.

“Each class is different and unique,” said Becky Wolfe, executive director of Leadership Butler. “Bringing youth together from different schools and backgrounds to learn about exercising leadership is something to see. Not only working in their class sessions on leadership skills but to come up with, plan and implement their community projects, it always astounds me. The flow of ideas that come from these kids on how they can make Butler County a better place for children can sometimes take your breath away.”

Brandon Demo, Leadership Butler Adult program Alumni and Youth Leadership Butler chair for the last two years, said, “I have been blessed to be a part of such a wonderful program and the youth I have worked with never stop amazing me, with their talents, their hearts and their charisma. This year we had a great group that has worked hard on their project and has excelled in teamwork. We, as a community, should be proud to have youth like this to help lead us into tomorrow.”

Youth Leadership Butler celebrates 20 years of community leadership development for youth in Butler County in 2013. Contact the Leadership Butler office at 321-4108 or by e-mail at info@leadershipbutlerinc.org for more information about the Youth Leadership Butler Graduation. Visit the Leadership Butler Web site at www.leadershipbutlerinc.org for program information.