Last Sunday, BranchOut! hosted its first in-person leadership meeting. The event was attended by a diverse group of students excited to learn from one another and collaborate on initiatives for the organization. As a program that strives to connect communities, the leadership team at BranchOut! is reflective of such, with students from eight different schools across Maryland and Virginia.
The in-person environment promoted an open and engaging experience for the attendees. The meeting began with a fun icebreaker activity that challenged the team to solve a complex scenario together, discussing how they would each utilize their unique role's skill sets to survive on a deserted island. The activity not only encouraged problem-solving skills and promoted persuasive speaking skills but also helped students build strong relationships with one another. The students came together to create a satisfactory ending through negotiation.
The meeting was joined by Dr. Yuhsien Wu, co-founder of BranchOut!, and Dr. Meina Liu, chair of the Howard County BranchOut! chapter. During the meeting, the students organized BranchOut! program logistics, discussing marketing, expansion, and recruitment strategies. The students also planned the annual training and celebration events and leadership interviews to find next-generation BranchOut! leaders.
Afterward, BranchOut! supported local business Okonomi Asian Grill with its lunch order, strengthening the connection between BranchOut! and the community. The in-person leadership meeting was a huge success, and we want to thank all our BranchOut! student leaders who attended for their contributions:
Ximing Luo, 12th grader, Centennial High School, President of Howard County Chapter
Luke Wang, 12th grade, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Director of Technology
Savannah Zhu, 12th grade, South County High School, Chief Education Officer
Johnny Liu, 11th grade, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Innovator Team Lead
Joshua Soong, 11th grader, River Hill High School, Director of Education
Evan Wang, 11th grade, Blair High School, Director of Operations
Brian Zhou, 11th grade, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Director of Outreach
Kavya Kuttuva, 10th grade, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Assistant Director of Operations
Elizabeth Li, 10th grade, Oakton High School, Assistant Director of Marketing
David Liu, 10th grade, Episcopal High School, Outreach Team
Richard Zhu, 10th grade, Richard Montgomery High School, Assistant Director of Education
See what our student leaders are saying about the meeting:
“After working with the Junior Leadership team for over a year, it was wonderful to be able to put names to faces and see everyone get together at the meeting! I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn about all of BO!'s awesome programming lined up this year, and am incredibly confident about this year's team!” - Brian Zhou
“As a new recruit to the leadership team, it was truly motivational to meet those who I looked up to, in person. For the first time, I was able to meet the brilliant voices who had supported me in my growth as a leader, eating and laughing with them and having the time of my life. I hope that one day I will be able to make the same positive impact on the newest generation of BO! Leaders.” - Johnny Liu
“It was wonderful to see the team in person! BranchOut! is made possible by its students, and the meeting on Sunday reinforced this idea. Each person has their strengths and it's great to see everyone working together to accomplish our collective goal. I am looking forward to working with the team this year!” - Ximing Luo
“I had so much fun getting to meet and bond with everyone before being able to work together to accomplish our shared initiative. I loved laughing and learning from my fellow BranchOut! members last Sunday!” - Savannah Zhu
“Meeting with my fellow Junior Leadership team in person for the first time was a fantastic and productive experience. I’m excited to help BranchOut! grow and reach new goals this year!” - Kavya Kuttuva
BranchOut! offers exciting personal and professional growth programs with opportunities to take the initiative and lead. If you are a student looking to grow as a leader, consider joining BranchOut! to work with a diverse group of talented individuals and attend events like this designed to help you succeed.
"BranchOut! has been a transformative part of my life and is one of the best ways to motivate teens to become future leaders," Kavya says. We encourage all students to apply to BranchOut! here. We can't wait to BranchOut! with everyone this summer!