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March 30th, 2022

Source & Media Contact:

Bill Maendele, Leadership Kearney President,

Megan Berry, Leadership Kearney Marketing Chair,

Leadership Kearney Developing for the Future -

KEARNEY - The Leadership Kearney Board of Directors announces exciting changes to the organization and current programming. Over the past two years, the Board has had to navigate the pandemic, and has spent that time looking at different ways to continue the organization's mission of identifying, educating, and nurturing potential, emerging, and existing leaders in Kearney and the surrounding communities. As a result, the Board facilitated three leadership programs: Youth Leadership Kearney Class 27 (Senior Class), Youth Leadership Kearney Class 28 (Junior Class), and Leadership Kearney Class 30 (Adult). Working with three classes in one program year was a challenge, however, the Board adjusted the Youth program to better focus on the students’ needs.

This was Leadership Kearney’s first senior youth class, separate from the adult and junior classes, with goals of preparing them for life after graduation, simplifying programming, and avoid overwhelming sponsoring businesses with 75 students. Their session days included: Orientation; Retreat, Health & Life Beyond High School; State of the City; Quality of Life; State Government & Politics; Business, Arts & Media; Relationship Building; Community Vision; Community Service; and Graduation. An addition to the youth program was the use of Clifton StrengthsFinder, an assessment tailored to the high school level that allows students to grow confidence in who they are, help them learn how they can best contribute to the world and help students in identifying their talents.

The senior class responded extraordinarily well to the new programming and provided additional feedback as to how a scheduling change would make the program even more beneficial for students. After carefully considering this feedback from the youth, discussion with the schools, and intricate planning, the Leadership Kearney Board of Directors voted to implement changes to the Youth Leadership Kearney programming and schedule. The Youth Leadership Kearney program will now commence in January of the students’ junior year and conclude in October of their senior year. The new programming will continue to expose the participants to the pillars of Kearney while sharpening their leadership skills even more than before.

"Splitting the junior and senior year is the perfect way to allow students to get the most from YLK. This split would allow more time for students to focus on school and ACTs, it also allows them to see potential careers and guide them in the right direction while minimizing the amount of interference with school commitments," stated Kearney Catholic Senior Kade Uelmen.

Board members will hold informational meetings at both schools in August and applications for Youth Leadership Kearney Class 29 will be made available online in September. Youth applications will close in October, and the class will be selected by the end of November. Please reach out to the Leadership Kearney Board President Bill Maendele with questions.

In addition to the changes to the Youth Leadership Kearney program, Leadership Kearney will be launching a new website on Friday, April 1st to better communicate up-to-date information about the organization, feature sponsoring businesses and provide better access to applications. This change comes in time for Leadership Kearney Class 31 applications.

Applications for Leadership Kearney Class 31 will open Friday, April 1st, and close on Friday, May 13th at 5:00 PM.

The Board of Directors wants to acknowledge the Kearney community and businesses that have shown tremendous support to this organization. With the generous support of many, the organization continues to support and guide the future leaders of the Kearney community.

About Leadership Kearney:

Leadership Kearney is an organization created to identify, educate and nurture potential, emerging and existing leaders that are committed to improving the quality of life in Kearney and the surrounding communities. Youth Leadership Kearney was created to mirror the Leadership Kearney program started in 1991. It was recognized that there was a need to inspire and train the next generation of youth leaders in Kearney. Visit to learn more or like us on Facebook at @LeadershipKearney.

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