April 2021 Leadership Spotlight

Empower Leadership is on a mission to inspire 1 Million Leaders! Doing so requires connections with people who share in our passion to lead, inspire, and empower! Each month, we will shine the “leadership spotlight” on a leader to showcase the tremendous work they do in their community. The April 2021 Leadership Spotlight shines on Michelle McCarty, Lead Child and Youth Program Coordinator (LCYPC) for the CT National Guard Child and Youth Program!!!

Here’s a quick note from one of the people who nominated Michelle for Empower Leadership’s April Leadership Spotlight – “Michelle is the Child and Youth Program Coordinator for the CT National Guard. She won’t tell you this, but she has been non-stop during the pandemic; consistently adapting her programming, being creative, and striving to strengthen connections during this strange time. She does not get enough credit for her leadership because she is a humble leader who sometimes flies under the radar, but the impact she has on the families she touches is immeasurable. The CT National Guard families are better and stronger because of Michelle McCarty.”

Introducing Michelle McCarty

For the past 15 years, Michelle has served as the Lead Child & Youth Program Coordinator (LCYPC) for the Connecticut National Guard Child & Youth Program. My role focuses on promoting and sustaining quality of life and resilience amongst the National Guard children and youth by providing secure, timely, flexible, and high quality support services and enrichment programs. Learn more about Michelle, and her AWESOME programs by following the CT National Guard Child & Youth Program on Facebook and Instagram.

How does leadership play a role for you personally in your day-to-day responsibilities as the Lead Child and Youth Program Coordinator?

Leadership shows up in my day-to-day quite often! First and foremost, I am a leader to the military youth I work with, whether it be in-person or virtually, they look to me for guidance and direction. Especially my teen group, I work with them on becoming amazing leaders themselves through our programming and services. Additionally, because I have been involved in the CT Nation Guard Child & Youth Program for many years, I often take on leadership roles within our office; helping newer coworkers become more comfortable with the office operations and programming we provide.

How does the CT National Guard Child & Youth Program develop leaders?

Part of my program is geared towards developing young leaders. I lead the CT National Guard Youth Council, which is comprised of military youths ages 11 and older, that come together monthly as a group to assist with developing programming for our younger military youth in the State. In addition, the Youth Council members act as mentors and leaders during the actual events. I also hold quarterly Youth Leadership Forums for the council members and other military teens. These forums include additional leadership training and workshops focused on building resiliency and life skills that will help them navigate challenges, support themselves and others, and celebrate successes throughout their young adult lives.

Describe a leadership challenge you face in your position and share some strategies you have implemented to help overcome the challenge in your Child and Youth Programming.

Keeping our young leaders and engaged in programming has been a challenge, especially during the pandemic when most, if not all, of our programming and workshops have been delivered virtually (as opposed to in-person). Over the past year, I have implemented new programming by partnering with outside organizations such as Empower Leadership. These new programs bring fresh engaging activities and experiences to our program which helps keep our young leaders engaged during this challenging time.

Describe your favorite “element of leadership” you experience in your position as the Lead Child & Youth Program Coordinator.

My absolute favorite element of leadership is seeing the successes of our military youth as they “graduate” from my program. Seeing how they have implemented the leadership and life skills they learned in our program to their time as college students and young professionals, and knowing I have somehow made a small impact on their lives is so rewarding!

Shine the Leadership Spotlight on a Leader in Your Community!

Do you know of someone who excels at leading, inspiring, and empowering? Complete our nomination form to recognize a teacher, coach, co-worker, or community leader for our monthly Leadership Spotlight recognition!

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