Legacy Youth Institute - Session #2 - Champions of FAMILY
Silver Dollar City

Branson, MO – October 9, 2012 – Thirty student leaders from across Stone and Taney Counties convened last week at Silver Dollar City for the second session of the new Legacy Youth Institute (LYI), a leadership and mentoring program designed to equip young leaders to pass on the area’s “Ozark Mountain Spirit” to future generations.

Each of the Legacy Youth Institute’s six sessions explores a different core value of Ozark Mountain Country—Faith, Family, Friends, Flag, and ensuring a preferred Future. In last week’s session, the focus was on Family. Jim Brawner, President of Team Barnabas, equipped students with tools to build their own healthy family relationships. Sue Head, Dean of Character Education at College of the Ozarks, challenged students to consider their current and future roles in shaping a culture of character in Ozark Mountain Country.

“I never realized until now that you could create your own culture,” said Galena High School student Parris Mayhood. “I always thought you just had to deal with what you had.”  Encouraging students to believe in the power of their own influence in the community is one of the primary goals of the Legacy Youth Institute.

Students also heard from Silver Dollar City’s co-founder, Peter Herschend, whose story is characterized by a passion for and commitment to promoting a family-friendly culture of entertainment in Ozark Mountain Country. Over the years, Herschend has preserved the family-friendly culture of the area even as his company’s entertainment offerings have expanded. He has also actively encouraged others to commit to do the same. Today, hundreds of area businesses and organizations consistently provide a family-friendly experience for both local residents and the millions of tourists who visit the area each year.

“The legacy of the Herschend family, and other passionate community leaders, reflects an Ozark Mountain Country that works together to intentionally preserve the family-friendly values of our area,” said Jory Rolf, Executive Director of Ozark Mountain Legacy. “We hope that LYI students will realize that as future leaders of the community, they can choose to continue to preserve and influence our family-friendly culture.” 

Legacy Youth Institute students were greatly encouraged by what they heard. “It’s cool how regular people can do really great things,” said Hurley High School student Jacob Ray. Fellow student Alie Lawrence said, “I’ve liked hearing about how people are so interested in the community. It makes me want to be the same way.” And, like so many students’ impressions of their experiences with LYI so far, Lawrence concludes, “Being a part of the Legacy Youth Institute has made me feel honored to be a part of this community.”

The next session of the Legacy Youth Institute, which will focus on the area’s commitment to “Champion Flag,” will be held on Wednesday, November 7.  For more information about the Legacy Youth Institute, please contact Ozark Mountain Legacy at (417) 598-1314, or visit

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Legacy Youth Institute | PO Box 7070 | Branson, MO 65615 | 417-598-1314 |