The OCMI Junior Leadership Program started their summer program with History Day – a tour of the Marco Island historical sites. The program also included visits to the Marco Island Police Department and Fire Rescue Department. Hospitality Day was spent with a tour of Marco Island Hotels from the JW Marriott to the Beach House. These days of learning mirrored the adult version of the program, the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Marco (Read about the 2017 Leadership Marco adult class in this issue of Coastal Breeze News).The last day of the Junior Leadership Marco program, was Beach Stewardship Day. The students spent a half-day on the beach with a member of Marco Island Beach Advisory Committee as their guide and mentor. The group started at the Tigertail Beach lagoon where the students had their first encounter with the amazing sight of a reddish egret dancing for its breakfast in the shallows of the lagoon. Instantly everybody was transformed into nature photographers. This set the tone for the rest of the morning! Though it was a muddy passage from Tigertail Beach lagoon, with a series of mini-lakes in front of the South Seas Tower 2, 3 and 4, this did not dampen the students’ optimism heading into Sand Dollar Island. Jennifer Reeves, parent and chaperone, commented that she had never been to that side of Marco Island before.
The students collected trash along the way and learned why it is important to keep the beach clean. They heard a brief presentation about the unique ecology of a Critical Wildlife Area; why it is important to share the beach with wildlife; no live shelling; and the harm that unleashed dogs may do to nesting wildlife. There was much to remember, but overall, the students had a fun beach experience.According to Jayme Lowe, an OCMI parent and coordinator of the OCMI Junior Leadership Program, the club is a group of dedicated young students that volunteer and give back to their community, devoting their time to organizations and events that help others in need.
With their first OCMI Junior Leadership summer experience, Jayme Lowe remarked that the students came away with a better understanding of what makes Marco Island unique and discovered ways they can contribute their strengths to make the community even better.Any middle and high school students interested in giving back to the community and making a difference, please send an email to Jayme Lowe at firstname.lastname@example.org.