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Leadership Salkehatchie Announces Reestablishment of Youth Program

After eight sessions of leadership training, the 2022 cohort’s investment in Leadership Salkehatchie is yielding substantial dividends for the region as the group announced the reestablishment of Salkehatchie Youth Leadership as its project. 

“USC Salkehatchie has a rich history of engaging people of all ages across our service region. Previously, the University offered youth leadership programming in each of our five counties. Unfortunately, the COVID pandemic dramatically impacted our ability to work with youth and our schools. We’re excited to begin making an impact on youth in our area with this project,” Jackson Alexander, Director of the USC Salkehatchie Leadership Institute, said.

The launch of the Salkehatchie Youth Leadership Program will offer 10th and 11th grade students in Colleton, Hampton, Allendale, Barnwell, and Bamberg counties an opportunity to learn valuable life and professional skills to carry into adulthood.

“Programs like this are vital for youth, especially in rural areas, to learn about their own personal leadership abilities, make lasting connections, and develop talents for personal growth. We hope the students will see first-hand the impact they can have across the Salkehatchie region and choose to make positive impacts for a lifetime,”  Alexander said.

The program will be a partnership between the USC Salkehatchie Leadership Institute and the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service.

Leadership Salkehatchie participants brainstormed ideas for the program, set targeted goals and agreed to help with promotion of the program. Additionally, each have taken on the responsibility of obtaining funding for the program. 

“The group felt a youth program would be a great way to cultivate young leaders for the region by exposing them to resources, such as higher education, business and industry, arts and culture, healthcare and infrastructure, governmental operations and civic engagement,” Alexander said. 

Previous sessions provided a strong foundation for the group to develop the project and included topics such as leadership development, economic opportunity, and regional resources.  The February meeting at the Walterboro Wildlife Center focused on leadership in their communities and served as a catalyst for the project. 

“Leadership is pivotal when we think about how to cultivate change and create progress in our region. Developing leadership skills can spark transformation.  The reestablishment of the youth leadership program is an excellent example of what Leadership Salkehatchie is about,” Alexander said. 

Leadership Salkehatchie is a year-long, intensive leadership program sponsored by the USC Salkehatchie Leadership Institute and the SouthernCarolina Regional Development Alliance, which empowers its emerging leaders to improve their communities.  Since its inception, more than 200 men and women have participated in the program with most of those participants currently residing in the area.

This year’s cohort includes 12 professionals from businesses and organizations within the region. They are: Michelle Altman (Hampton), William Barnes (Hampton), Maryann Blake (Colleton), Austrai Bradley (Barnwell), Nathan Catoe (Barnwell),  Leslie Holman-Brooks (Bamberg), Natalia Johnson (Barnwell), Marilyn Myrdal (Allendale), Kevin Smalls (Colleton), Dawn Stuckey (Hampton), Walter (Bo) White (Jasper), Elizabeth Wooten (Hampton).

If you are interested in participating in Leadership Salkehatchie or nominating someone to participate, please visit contact Jackson Alexander at (803)-812-7354 or