The 25th Future Leaders of York class graduated in May 2014. We're proud to share updates from FLY alumni on how their participation in the program influenced their leadership development.
Eric Strittmatter, FLY 06
As a part of the Future Leaders of York Class of 2006, I was exposed to many social, community, and government organizations throughout York County. As I finished high school and prepared to head to York College of PA for their mechanical engineering program, I looked for a way to be involved in my community. A friend of mine encouraged me to join a local volunteer fire department. I didn’t quite know what all I was signing up for at the time, but seven years later I have no regrets.
I have spent hundreds of hours participating in formal training and responded to thousands of emergency calls. I hold numerous state and national certifications. But the best part about my service are the rewards. Rewards for volunteer firefighters do not come in the form of money, but rather in the form of a “thank you,” handshake, or even just a smile as we help someone in their time of need.
At the start of this year, I was elected to the position of Fire Chief. In 2006, the FLY program was preparing me for a leadership position that hadn’t even crossed my mind. The position of Fire Chief comes with many responsibilities outside of fire calls. Attending the York County Commissioners meeting during the FLY program prepared me to attend and give reports at monthly borough and township meetings. The obstacle course and the personality profiles at the retreat prepared me with people skills and an understanding of others to make my transition into a leadership role much easier.
I have a greater appreciation for the area in which I live, as well as the numerous community and social organizations due to the FLY program. I choose to do my part and have found an area where I can apply the skills and qualities introduced to me during the FLY program to improve my community.
Future Leaders of York helps high school sophomores and juniors learn to become lifelong, responsible, active participants in their community. The class of 2014 included 37 students, representing 17 York County high schools. Program expenses come out to $1200 per student and tuition covers only 25% of that cost. Please contact us if you are interested in sponsorship or individual giving opportunities to help underwrite this program.