Building New Leaders
The Junior State of America was founded at the Montezuma Mountain School located in the hills of Los Gatos, California. Each year, the Junior State of America convenes a group of emerging leaders and impactful Teacher Advisors for a four-day leadership summit that echoes the values and principles of JSA.
As the nation becomes more polarized and authoritarianism rises on a global scale, the Montezuma Leadership Summit plays a crucial role in JSA’s efforts to train and mentor a new kind of leader. Leaders who value inclusivity and diversity and listening to different points of view.
Fifty JSA student leaders along with 10 Teacher Advisors are invited to spend days strengthening their leadership and mentoring skills.
Below is an example of the timeline for the Montezuma Leadership Summit. Workshops differ each year. Most workshops are developed and led by JSA’s governors and program staff.
Arrival & Registration
BREAKFAST 8:00-9:00 am
Introductions & Group Exercise
(past workshops have focused on effective leadership, how to run a nonprofit, building a team)
LUNCH – provided and served in the cafeteria
(afternoon workshops may include a tour of facilities)
DINNER – served in the cafeteria
FREE TIME: 9:00-11:00 pm
(these workshops may focus on goal setting and community building)
Workshop #4 – Panel of invited speakers
CURFEW 11:00 PM
LUNCH & DEPARTURE
A trip to Pier 30 in San Francisco is usually planned for the final day. Any attendees are welcome to participate. Please see notes about departure in your invite if you participate in the San Francisco outing.
Future Leaders of JSA Gather At Birthplace of JSA
By Steven Bradley
During the weekend of August 14-16, student leaders from all 10 JSA states and territories gathered in the birthplace of the organization, the former Montezuma Mountain School, located in Los Gatos, California. The attendees, chosen by their governors, entered the area ready to learn and walked out ready to lead.
Throughout the three days, the governors led presentations on the many key aspects with each JSA state and territory, such as fundraising, activism, and chapter strengthening. Along with that, the governors were able to connect and develop personal connections with each of the students who they believed to be the future of the organization.
“What I considered the most valuable was the one-on-one time I got with my fabulous governor, Jenny Guzman, and my other fellow Arizona leaders,” remarked Ciana Cronin, the Director of Debate for the Arizona territory who was also voted the female graduation speaker this year.
The weekend was also able to incorporate some more entertaining activities between all the attendees. There were events such as a talent show, which the Northern Californians won, and the annual “Zumalypics” (which included timed activities), in which the great state of Texas came out victorious.
“It felt good to just socialize and hang out with delegates from all over,” stated Northern California Governor Danny Baek, attending his first ever Montezuma Summit as a leader.
As students walked around the grounds where JSA’s founder, Professor Ernest Rogers, created JSA, the nature itself made an influence on the students. Ajay Singh, the male graduation speaker for Montezuma this year, stated how it was “unbelievable how connected you feel to nature while walking on the grounds of the old Mountain School.”
These connections and activities were able to make the twenty-sixth consecutive year of the leadership summit very successful. All the students had to make various payments to attend the conference (registration fees, plane tickets, etc.). Fortunately, they were assisted by the Montezuma Foundation, whose mission is to help in the educational process of developing ethical leadership skills in the youth of today. They have helped hundreds of students be able to have the opportunity to attend this leadership conference, and will continue to assist for the future graduates of the leadership summit.
Thanks to the presentations made by the governors and the social activities that were completed over the weekend, Montezuma was able to help prepare all the attendees to become effective leaders in JSA for their respective states. Rohan Marwaha, Director of Expansion for the Mid-Atlantic State, was able to gain a better interpretation of what it means to serve on cabinet for his state, stating that “being on cabinet is so much more than just fulfilling the duties of your position—it’s about doing everything you can to help your fellow statesmen and that’s what I hope to do”.
Steven Bradley is currently a senior at St. Joseph’s Preparatory High School in Philadelphia, PA. He also serves as the Director of Summer School Promotion for the Mid-Atlantic State and is a 2014 graduate of the Montezuma Leadership Summit.