Dozens of young men faced a weekend-long intense leadership course

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Dozens of young men from the inner City of Buffalo returned from facing a three-day intensive leadership training retreat at Beaver Hollow to learn critical life leadership skills.

18-year-old Dav Quan Walker and 15-year-old Andrew Middlebrooks tell 7 News about their experiences and the power of teamwork.

We’ve learned how to come together and stick together and try not to put anybody down,” says Walker. “We tried to lift everybody up together as a team.”

The young men also learned the importance of accountability through some boot-camp-style experiences.

“If one person does something stupid, the whole group would have to get down and do push up, basically learning responsibility and accountability,” Middlebrooks says.

This training has been a life-changing experience for all these young men as they learned self-love, leadership, and resilience.

“80 percent of the kids didn’t want to come, and we’ve asked them. They said my parents made me come, and I don’t want to be here, and they actually said that out of their mouths,” says organizer and Global Resilience Trainer Duncan Kirkwood. “They didn’t want to do the march and say yes sir, no sir, but after they got done with the 88th pushup, they straightened up. They learned how to look someone in the eye and learned how to be a team and accountable for one another.”

Several of these young leaders say they desire to be in future leadership roles.

“I want to be a firefighter. It has been my dream job, but if there’s something else that opens up to be a leader like a battalion chief and I’m leading, I’ll do that,” Middlebrooks says. “It takes kinda like being a bigger brother for the people.”

Some say they’re already looking forward to the next retreat.

“It’s not a lot of programs that are out here for young Black men especially to be leaders, and we need that now more than ever,” Walker says.

The global resilience trainer says there will be another intensive leadership training course next Spring for women.

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