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Training the Next Generation of Leaders



BranchOut! mentors of the Howard County Chapter had an incredible opportunity to enhance their leadership qualities through a workshop led by Dr. Joanne Zhang on Sunday, May 21 at the East Columbia Branch Library, Columbia, MD. The event brought together new and returning mentors, fostering team bonding through engaging activities and insightful discussions on effective leadership. Dr. Joanne Zhang graciously shared her expertise, offering valuable feedback to the mentors, while also creating an environment where mentors could learn from one another.


In addition to the leadership session, the mentors had the chance to kick off the summer of 2023 by familiarizing themselves with the various summer programs that BranchOut! has partnered with.



We want to thank all the mentors who attended the event, and a special thank you to Dr. Joanne Zhang for generously dedicating her time to educate and inspire our mentors.

Below are testimonials from some of the BranchOut! Mentors who participated:


“Participating in BranchOut! Howard County’s first in-person leadership and training session ever since the pandemic was truly an exciting experience! Being able to connect with other members I rarely have the opportunity to meet with was just one of the many benefits of the gathering. I also found the training exercises we did with Guest Speaker Dr. Joanne Zhang to be extremely unique and connecting. I think that it was a great event that allowed for members to get to know each other better, and connect with others even more outside of volunteering in programs throughout the year.” -Joshua Soong, 11th grade, River Hill High School


“It was an amazing opportunity to participate in BranchOut! Howard County’s first in-person leadership workshop since the pandemic. I thought it was a great learning experience engaging in Guest Speaker Dr. Joanne Zhang’s leadership discussion and exercises. I found that I could truly grow as a leader and apply what I learned to future leadership opportunities. Not only that, I was able to meet the other mentors of BranchOut!’s HoCo Chapter. It was wonderful to meet new people and catch up with familiar faces. It was lovely getting to have first-hand experience of how welcoming the BranchOut! community is. I would definitely love to participate in another in-person workshop again!” - Jayce Zhang, 11th grade, Reservoir High School


“The leadership training provided by BranchOut! proved very insightful and gave substance to what being a leader was. Previously, when I needed to assume leadership in a group, I was able to do so, but with much confusion as to what kind of person I needed to be. However, this training helped to ingrain the qualities of a good leader in my mind and allowed me to strive to become a better leader. The training taught us the importance of communication through hands-on activities, which demonstrated firsthand how a good leader is required to communicate well. In the demonstration, we were paired up in groups in order to guide a blindfolded person through certain tasks. In order to succeed, the guide needed to be able to communicate effectively on what the tasks in front of the blindfolded person was.” - Jeffery Xu, 11th grade, River Hill High School


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