Hello and welcome to the official Summer Leadership Program week 3 recap. Now that the participants have been poured into a little bit, they were given the opportunity to pour back into the community and get a taste of what it is like to serve for great local organizations.

To kick off our day, participants were served breakfast from Genesis Pastries stationed here at Catapult. As they ate, participants were given an overview of the day. 

Before we left for our service locations, we heard from former congressman Dennis Ross. With the days theme being leadership outside of the workplace, Mr. Ross talked about how to be a servant within the community. With his background, he was able to provide numerous examples of what he has done and what he has seen done to enrichen Lakeland. What I loved most is how he talked about investing in the youth because he is a direct product of those who invested in him. 

He also brought along his former student turned-Program-Coordinator, Cameron Taney, who walked the group through exercises which demonstrated active steps to making our community stronger, like empathetic listening. 


As they wrapped up, participants got ready to go to our different locations. Our participants were broken up into three different groups and went to VISTE, KidsPack, and Parker Street Ministries. Each group was prompted with different questions they’d need to answer when they got back. 

At each location, participants were given a rundown of the organization and what they aim to achieve within the community and the steps they take to achieve them. After this introduction they got to work doing various things to serve. 

At VISTE, we formed an assembly line and made boxes of food for the elderly to be served. At KidsPack, we packed lunches for kids to be served throughout the week. And at Parker Street, we put on a carnival for the kids at their summer program. 

I went to Parker Street Ministries and had a great time. It was so awesome to see the joy that we were able to bring these kids. In a conversation I had with a staff member, they told me about how much the kids loving having new faces around and how much it excites them to see us. It was very evident that the kids truly love each other and the workers there. It is so evident to see that the work Parker Street Ministries does makes such an impact in these kids lives and provides them with an amazing community.


After a long day of serving, our participants returned to Catapult and each group put together a presentation about their day. These presentations included a brief overview of their service and answers to the questions they were given at the beginning of the day. One of my favorite questions they answered was “What would happen if this organization no longer existed”. This question really gave us a good perspective of the impact of what each organization does for their community. 



Following the presentations, Katie gave everyone a recap of the day and key takeaways. She also let everyone know what to expect next week on “Love Lakeland Day.”

We then had our third official social event located at the Joinery.

Thank you so much for reading!


  • Carter Sandman (SLP Intern)