A special honor for local student

Damon Gregg

It's a special kind of honor as a Pauls Valley student has been selected to be a delegate for a youth leadership event held each year by the Developmental Disabilities Council of Oklahoma.

Local junior Damon Gregg, along with his family and teacher, recently received the letter informing him of the selection for the 17th annual Oklahoma Youth Leadership Forum (YLF).

The only downside to the honor is Gregg and all his fellow delegates won't actually get to be there in person for the statewide event scheduled for June 8-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic will instead force the event stretching out over several days, normally at a college campus somewhere in the state, to be done online and virtual.

“This a youth leadership camp for students with disabilities,” said Marnie Crawford, a special services teacher at PV High School.

“He got this amazing letter. He applied and got accepted for this big honor. There's a lot that went into it, so it's a big honor for him to be selected.”

What Gregg was selected for is an intense educational and motivational week held every summer on a university campus.

During the YLF students work in small and large groups, create their own personal leadership plans and work to identify resources that can help them achieve their goals.

The “most fun ever” activities are included as part of the goal to offer lessons about leading a well-rounded life.

Speakers address such topics as disability rights laws, innovations in technology, community resources, legislative processes and many others.

Delegates also get to meet state and national leaders, while normally spending time at the state Capitol talking with government officials.

Damon's mom, Megan Gregg, had a front row seat to see just hard her son worked to earn the selection. She also knows just how big an honor it represents.

“It's a really big honor. He worked hard to be selected,” Megan tells the PV Democrat.

“The forum is meant to strengthen their skills and prepare them for adulthood.”

One part of that was the process of applying as Damon wrote an essay describing why he felt qualified, described people he's known with the biggest influence on his life and experiences that have helped him the most.

Letters of recommendation also came from his teacher and a couple of people from the community, including a Garvin County judge.

Damon also had to field a number of questions as part of a phone interview.

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