What did you learn from your experience on the Highlands Youth (HY) Advisory Board?
While I learned a lot of practical skills during my time on the HY board, I think I learned the most about myself. Because of the opportunities the HY gave me, I discovered things I am passionate about, how I work with others, and what steps I should take to actualize ideas.
What did you enjoy about your experience on the HY board?
I enjoyed the team the most, for sure. Every iteration of the HY board I have had the pleasure of working with had its own quirks. I feel our team meetings “evened the playing field” for all members to make their own meaningful contributions.
What surprised you about your experience on the HY board?
I was taken aback by how much I enjoy being a leader within the HY. Before joining the HY, I liked being involved in the community but was not fond of the spotlight. I have come to appreciate how the HY let me practice the compassion and conviction I think characterizes a good leader. The skills I learned from the HY transcend my work on the board; the benefits cross over into my schoolwork and even my job and other extracurriculars.
Knowing what you know now, if you were just joining the HY board, would you do anything differently?
Yes. I think I would have jumped at the opportunity to write for Connections more often. In hindsight, I appreciate the confidence it gave me to seek out opportunities to be a better writer.
What do you think is your legacy contribution to the HY board?
My contributions to the HY include capturing the experience of growing up living green and living through a pandemic by writing articles in Connections and helping to build the purple Little Free Library.
What is your message to the remaining HY board members?
If you are able to resume the HY’s regular events (like Night at the Arcade, the annual Halloween party, and Parents Night Out) sooner rather than later, first take a moment to remind yourselves of how much doing so is going to mean to people. Restoring a sense of normalcy, starting from the community level up, is going to do so much to raise the spirits of Issaquah Highlands. I have full confidence that you will play an important role in this change.
What are your hopes for the future of the HY board and its impact on your peers?
I hope future HY leaders will continue to create meaningful experiences for the peers they serve and continue to teach insightful lessons to their fellow board members.
How did your experience on the HY board build your self-confidence?
Being on the HY helped me explore my interests and take initiative in a safe and pressure-free environment. It lets me give back to my community in a visible and meaningful way.
Did making new friends through HY improve your high school experience?
Yes. I was able to connect with board members of all ages, and I was able to connect with peers I wouldn’t have known otherwise. Working with older members of the HY was a great opportunity for mentorship and being able to collaborate with younger members was a valuable opportunity.
What new skills did you learn while on the HY board?
Event planning, better time management, and the ability to problem solve on the spot. I learned a lot about how to reflect on something you accomplished, and how you can carry feedback and critique into future endeavors. This goes without saying but working on teambuilding and improving collaboration were also huge aspects of work on the HY.
Do you feel you are better prepared for your next life chapter because of your HY board experience?
Certainly. I can’t repeat myself enough when I say the HY helped me develop the skills of taking initiative and being unafraid to pursue leadership positions. I can use my HY experience in long-term planning and meeting deadlines in my college application process.
Jonah Foss is an Issaquah High School senior and Manchester Court resident.
The HY board is now accepting applications for 2021-2022. Ideal candidates are motivated, outgoing, creative, and dedicated to making our community better. Candidates must live in Issaquah Highlands and attend middle or high school in the fall of 2021. The deadline for applications is May 1.
Top applicants will be invited to a personal interview for final consideration. Click here to apply online now>>
Submit Your Free Graduation Announcement!
Highlands Council seeks graduation announcements for publication in the July 2021 issue of Connections. At this time, we are seeking announcements for graduates from high school, college, and technical/trade schools.
To be featured, graduation announcements must be submitted by May 31, 2021. Be sure to select “Graduation” in the announcement form to provide all the relevant information for your announcement. Click here to submit your free announcement >>