Over 300 business professionals, community leaders and philanthropists attended the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties’ Annual Intertape Polymer Group 2022 Leadership Breakfast on Friday, September 9, 2022. Initiated by Community Youth Development in 2006, the Leadership Breakfast was adopted by Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties in 2016, and honors two local trailblazers each year for their commitment to empowering teens as tomorrow's leaders. This year's event recognized the dedication of Carolyn Mason, Community Leader, and Steve Cantees, Secondary Schools Executive Director. Proceeds from the event support the organization's award-winning slate of Teen Programs, which includes leadership training, service opportunities, entrepreneurial education, workforce development and college and career prep.
Senator Lisa Carlton acted as the event's MC, and welcomed guests to the event before Boys & Girls Clubs members Ashley R., a Junior at Booker High School, led the crowd through the Invocation, and Nicolas P., a Senior at Riverview High School lead the Pledge of Allegiance. As Chef Paul and Mattison's Catering served breakfast, Senator Carlton introduced Nathan W., a Senior at Pine View High School to the stage as the event's co-MC.
"You all being here with us today directly benefits the programs that empower and inspire teens like me to achieve our full potential," said Nathan. "I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for my Club mentors, a loving community, and people like you who believe in our potential.”
Senator Carlton proceeded to acknowledge the sponsors who made the event possible including Presenting Sponsor, Intertape Polymer Group; Signature Sponsors, Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation; Louis and Gloria Flanzer Philanthropic Trust; Champion Sponsors - Caldwell Trust Company; Gulf Coast Community Foundation; Shumaker, and FCCI Insurance Group; Visionary Sponsors - Mabry Carlton Ranch; Cool Today; Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay; Sarasota County Sheriff's Office; Neal Communities; Shutts & Bowen; Ringling College of Art & Design; Nancy Mina; Synovus; The DeLieto Team at MS&C Commercial; Blistex, Williams Parker; Ric Smalley; Seacoast Bank; Martella Family Foundation; Media Sponsors - Captivation Agency; Palm Printing; SRQ Media.
Bill Sadlo, President/CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties, took the stage to share some exciting milestones the teen programs recently achieved. At the BGCA National Conference in Chicago, BGCSDC was awarded the inaugural Youth Megaphone Award in recognition of its efforts to lift and amplify the voices of the youth they serve. In addition, just a few weeks ago, they were also recognized at the state-wide Florida Alliance Conference, a gathering of all Boys & Girls Clubs in Florida where they were the recipient of two awards for program excellence.
Before Sarasota High School freshman Cobie B., a Senior at Sarasota High School presented Carolyn Mason with the 2022 Leadership Award, he spoke about the opportunities the Club has provided him with including the Culinary Arts Program, financial literacy program, Money Matters, and the leadership development program - Keystone. He also acknowledged how much he personally admires and respects honoree, Carolyn Mason as a he has grown up in the Club knowing her as a board member, volunteer, and personal mentor.
Mallory L., a Senior at Venice High School and Juna H., a Senior at Pine View High School then introduced Steve Cantees as the second 2022 Leadership Honoree. Before the award presentation, both Mallory and Juna shared that they have been Club members for three years and are graduates of the STAR Leadership Training Program. In addition, they have both served three terms on the Superintendents Advisory Council with Steve, most recently as Chair and Co-Chair where they have worked to bring about change in our schools by transforming ideas into policy.
After the Leadership Honorees were presented with their awards, Lisa welcomed Nathan back to the stage to share a few words on the impact the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties has had on his life.
“At the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club, I have had the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of programs. In the Perlman Price Young Entrepreneurs Program (PYE), I learned the nuts and bolts of entrepreneurship and the business world. After graduating from PYE, I was able to sharpen my business skills with PYE squared while simultaneously serving as a “student trainer” for my peers who were just getting started on their business journey” said Nathan.
In speaking about a particular experience that had a profound effect on him he said “Recently, I traveled to both the Florida and U.S. Capital with my Club. I now have a deep understanding and appreciation (not always positive appreciation, but an appreciation) of government and its role in our lives. This understanding has been particularly impactful as I continue to figure out what I can do as someone not quite of voting age, to better my community,” said Nathan. “My time at the two Capitals highlighted the importance of instilling a commitment to civic engagement in all youth.”
Nathan continued to say "being a youth leader has become increasingly important. We are the generation poised to experience the implications of many decisions being made today. Youth leadership is so important because of its capability to highlight underrepresented voices in important discourse I truly believe that the Boys & Girls Clubs has instilled a sense of empowerment within myself and all its members, which we carry with us in our daily lives, and in our development into becoming youth leaders."
Congratulations to the 2022 Leadership Honorees Carolyn Mason and Steve Cantees, and a special thank-you to our MC, Senator Lisa Carlton.