The city of Pine Bluff and Jefferson County officially closed their summer youth employment program Friday with a luncheon at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. The luncheon’s theme was “Bring Your ‘A’ Game: Possibilities Unlimited,” and the featured speaker encouraged the young people in attendance to always work to achieve those possibilities.
Leslie Peters, chief professional officer for the Boys and Girls Club of Jefferson County, opened his remarks by telling the audience that when he was a child, he dreamed of one day delivering encouraging speeches but a speech impediment kept from vocalizing his thoughts. He overcame this hurdle by going to school an hour and a half early to work with his speech teacher, and met with his teacher after school for the next two years.
Peters focused on three main points during his speech to encourage the youth.
First, Peters told the youth in attendance: “If you don’t have goals you will be controlled by people who do.”
“You must be willing to work, and willing to challenge yourself,” he said.
Next, Peters encouraged his audience to seek out peers with similar ambitions.
“Once you have identified where you want to go pair up with someone who wants the same,” he said.
Finally, Peters told the youngsters that they should find a mentor.
“Once a person sees you are working they will bend over backwards for you,” he said.
Peters closed his speech by encouraging those in the audience to be persistent.
“Keep pushing, so that people will know that you’re serious,” he said. “There will be people in life that will be smarter, faster, and better looking than you. But one thing you can control is to never let anyone outwork you.”
Closing remarks were given by Vickie Conaway, director of human resources for the city of Pine Bluff, who said she is already working on making next year’s program more successful than this year’s.