75 area seventh-graders learn ‘Skills for Success’ at UNK

Jordan Gonzales, Skills for Success coordinator, Office of Student Life, 308.865.8908  or gonzalesjp@lopers.unk.edu

Seventy-five seventh-graders from the Kearney area are participating in a “Skills for Success” program over four weeks this month. This year’s theme is “Skills for Success 2013: Engaging, Empowering and Educating Kearney’s Youth.”

Hosted by the University of Nebraska at Kearney Office of Student Life, in collaboration with the Kearney Area Community Foundation, “Skills for Success” is an interactive and innovative four-day program that offers contemporary curriculum to educate the seventh-graders about dining, dancing and social etiquette. The participants have already been selected into the program that began with a session on March 1.

At the first session in the Nebraskan Student Union, the students learned how to properly introduce themselves and others, and how to shake hands; and how to professionally and properly use their telephone, text-messaging, email and social media. They also took a turn in country line-dancing.

“Skills for Success” was originally offered in 1999 by the Chancellor’s Committee for Young People and the UNK Division of Athletics. After being on hiatus for several years, the program has been revitalized and is now planned by the Kearney Area Community Foundation, in partnership with the university.

“When teenagers have a clear understanding of etiquette, respect, civility and behavioral boundaries, they become more productive citizens and a greater asset to our society,” said Jordan Gonzales, UNK “Skills for Success” coordinator. “The teen etiquette programs provided by ‘Skills for Success’ are fun, innovative and include role-playing exercises. In addition, the sessions are pioneering new methods of interaction with the utilization of Prezi, social media and streaming videos.”

In addition to the Kearney Area Community Foundation, UNK student groups who are involved with Skills for Success are: Admissions Student Diplomats, Alpha Phi social sorority, UNK Sapphires Dance Team, Sigma Phi Epsilon social fraternity and student government.

“Above all, the skills gained from this signature program will empower teens to be confident when facing unfamiliar social environments,” Gonzales said. “Manners go hand in hand with leadership skills. All teens experience awkward moments, however when the boundaries of proper behavior are taught, these teenagers will feel more at ease and confidant as they enter into young adulthood.”

Participants will learn the following during the three remaining sessions:

March 8 – Session 2: Ponderosa Room, University of Nebraska at Kearney
·       Fashion show highlighting various forms of casual and formal attire
·       Chivalry role-playing
Extending and receiving, RSVPs, invitations and “thank you” notes
·       Waltz dancing tutorial

March 15 – Session 3: Museum of Nebraska Art
·       Instruction on table manners and dinner conversation
·       Served gourmet meal

March 28 –Session 4: Merryman Performing Arts Center
·       Formal dance and graduation ceremony recognizing participants enrolled in the program

The 2013 Skills for Success is made possible by the Kearney Area Community Foundation, Copycat Printing, Quadhammer Sound, UNK Dining Services, Carol Schwarz from Buffalo County Extension, Rhonda and Kirby Anderson, the Museum of Nebraska Art, Varsity Formal Wear, community parents, the Office of Student Life and multiple UNK student organizations.