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Brocton student completes Rotary Leadership Program

Connor Utegg, a Brocton Central School junior, recently completed the Rotary District 7090 Student Leadership Award Program for Students High On Training (SLAPSHOT).

His attendance in this youth leadership program was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Westfield-Mayville and was coordinated by Dan Smith, Club Youth Services Chair and Rotary District 7090 Vocational Training Team Chair.

Utegg was one of 40 student participants in the May 2-8, virtual training. Due to the pandemic, the program was held via Zoom instead of the in-person camp experience in Ancaster, Ontario.

Utegg, who is the son of Aaron and Jennifer Utegg of Portland, was the guest program presenter during the May 25 Rotary Club of Westfield-Mayville meeting at the Grape Discovery Center in Westfield. Club President Jan Berkhouse welcomed and introduced Utegg. Jason Delcamp, Brocton Central School District Superintendent, and other members of this Rotary club were present to hear Utegg’s excellent presentation and to ask a few questions.

“Thank you to the Westfield-Mayville Rotary Club for this amazing experience,” Utegg said. “I learned a lot of great skills, such as critical thinking, how to work with people in a group, and ways to challenge myself and others to take some risks. Coming from a small school, we don’t have a ton of leaders. SLAPSHOT gave me the opportunity to interact with other students, get some fresh ideas and learn how others help their communities. It was phenomenal!”

This promising young leader is president of the BCS Class of 2022, vice president of the BCS Chapter of the National Honor Society, captain of the combined varsity Chautauqua Lake, Westfield and Brocton football team, and head of the prom committee. He is a member of the BCS Interact Club, and as such he participates in various school, community and international service projects. Interact clubs, which are affiliated with Rotary International, have high school student members who are interested in volunteer service.

This year’s SLAPSHOT consisted of seven virtual “campfire” sessions, held daily and each lasting less than two hours. The theme was “LEADER,” or learn, evolve, adapt, discover, energize and Rotary. The sessions focused on critical thinking, growth mindset, mental health, skill inventory and empowerment. Skilled facilitators and engaging speakers led the sessions. Participants, who had to complete a minimum of four of the seven sessions, learned about what it takes to be a leader and how they could apply fresh ideas to everyday challenges.

Utegg stated, “SLAPSHOT gave me the motivation to take some risks. Every day I am using so many things that I learned. I stay in touch with almost everybody in the program, and we exchange ideas for community service. This experience was phenomenal, and I loved every minute of it. I would totally recommend this program to other high school students. SLAPSHOT helps you to open up your mind, accept some new approaches and take some risks. When you change your mindset, you learn a lot more.”

Superintendent Delcamp, who is also the BCS Interact Club Advisor and a Westfield-Mayville Rotarian, described Utegg as being “responsible, respectful and a person who follows through with doing what he says he will do. I am looking for Connor to use his leadership skills with our Interact club this next year and come up with some new ideas for service projects.”

The Rotary Club of Westfield-Mayville congratulates Connor Utegg on completing the Rotary District 7090 SLAPSHOT training. This inspiring and focused young leader certainly has a promising future!

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