A Leader in the Making: Chelsey Elvestad
06/01/2011 - By Gayle Irwin
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Word Count: 536
Twelve-year-old Chelsey Elvestad embarks upon an adventure this month, attending the People to People World Leadership Forum in Washington, DC.
Chelsey's 5th grade teacher nominated her last year, highlighting her leadership and scholastic abilities and civic involvement.
"I try to be helpful in class," Chelsey says. "I like to do things efficiently and quickly. I take charge in a group, explaining things to others they may not understand."
"She makes decisions quickly, and she likes to stay challenged," her mother Julie added.
A group project headed by the young student involved smoking in public places, from the viewpoint of public places being smoke-free. She and her fellow students took their project to Cheyenne and received an "outstanding" award. Chelsey took it another step further, contacting El Marko Bowling and making the case to the owners that bowling is a family activity as well as a sport, and that more families might enjoy coming to the business if it was smoke-free.
"When people go there, they don't want to go into a place all filled with smoke," Chelsey stated. "They want to enjoy themselves and keep their kids healthy."
El Marko is now smoke-free.
Chelsey travels to Washington for People to People program that begins June 20th. Former First Lady Laura Bush serves as keynote speaker.
"I'm excited to meet her," Chelsey said.
"We think very highly of Mrs. Bush," Julie added.
Chelsey will also be visiting several museums, meeting political and other leaders, and taking part in an embassy dinner.
"We were elated (when Chelsey was chosen to attend)," Julie added.
People to People was started in 1956 by President Eisenhower. The trip to DC is not all sightseeing and people-meeting; it is also work and education. Assignments are given and expected to be completed, including thoughts on how to become a better leader, strengths and motivations of leaders, and who is known as a good leader.
In addition to her academics, Chelsey is involved in basketball, cheerleading, dance and 4-H. Her 4-H activities include sewing, baking, archery, and animals. She won overall grand champion at age 11 for a sewing project at last year's fair. She runs barrels and poles with her horse, taking second in barrels and reserve champion in poles last year. She also won grand champion for her pig.
Chelsey has helped with the Ranch-City Party, volunteers at Donells Candies, and collects aluminum cans for the Casper Humane Society. She and her family attend Highland Park Community Church. She's a gifted and talented student who excels in math, science, social studies and reading. She also has chores to do on the family's 20 acres.
"I have a routine to manage it all," she said.
Although she enjoys living outside of town and being around her menagerie of animals, Chelsey also enjoys a dress-up party. She took part in the American Mall Model Search at the Eastridge Mall in April. She choreographed a ballet, glammed up for pictures, and strolled the catwalk.
"She did an outstanding job," her mother beamed.
Chelsey says she wants to be either a model or a doctor when she grows up. Whatever career path she chooses, she most likely will excel at it.
"Chelsey has drive," Julie stated.