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Youth Explore Risky Leadership
Y-LEAD 2006 - July 27-30


By Laura Lehman Amstutz

Harrisonburg , Va--- Is leadership worth the risk? This was the question addressed at a recent conference for Mennonite youth at Eastern Mennonite University . Forty-six Mennonite youth gathered from around the country to explore leadership at Y-LEAD a three and a half day youth conference held July 27-30.

This year’s theme for the conference was “Worth the Risk?” Youth and sponsors explored various aspects of leadership in workshops and worship. Speakers talked about biblical leaders who took risks.

On Thursday night Glen Guyton, youth minister at Calvary Community Church in Hampton , Va. , spoke about Moses. Seventeen-year-old, Daniel Lyman, of Hartville , Ohio , responded: “The example of Moses was good. He didn’t think he was qualified but God provided a way for him to do it anyway, and God chose him.”

Sean Miller, 17, also from Hartville said, “I’ve learned that leaders are going to have to take risks and it might be scary but you’re going to have to step out and do it anyway.”

Many of the students are involved in leadership at their schools or churches. Sarah Freehan, 16, from Souderton , Pa commented: “I’m on campus senate back at school ( Christopher Dock High School ) so I’m learning to lead with integrity.”

Rose Jantzi, 15, Harrisonburg , Va. is also involved in leadership at her school. “Y-Lead was offered to me by the dean of students at EMHS ( Eastern Mennonite High School ),” she said, “because I was a part of the chapel planning committee and they wanted to have some strong leaders as a part of that committee.”

“Y-LEAD helps youth think about and develop leadership skills,” stated Jill Landis, coordinator for this year’s event. “Y-LEAD seeks to educate, empower, and enable youth to be servant leaders.”


Learning about leadership was an important part of the event for youth. Miller added, “I’ve been told that I’m a natural leader and I really want to learn to step up and be more of a leader”

“I thought it would be a good chance to keep investing in leadership skills and learning more about them,” Lyman said.

“Kirby Dean (basketball coach at EMU) had a great workshop,” said Jantzi, “We learned different steps of being a good leader and what it takes to be a good leader with integrity. I’ve learned how different people are called to God for leadership.”

Begun in 1994 as a Christian leadership event for Mennonite youth leaders and their sponsors and pastors, Y-LEAD is held every other year at a Mennonite university or college. Youth learn about various aspects of leadership, as well as connecting with Mennonite youth from other parts of the country.

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