Leadership is an important quality for Jinsol Kang, one he plans to develop over the next several months.

Kang, a sophomore at Ralston High School, was among 40 of 133 applicants selected for the Youth Leadership Omaha program at Creighton University.

YLO, which is open to high school sophomores in the metro area, is an interactive development program aimed to inform, motivate and raise awareness of issues through a series of seminars.

It also helps connect students with the community through interactions with community decision makers.

YLO is a mirror program of the adult Leadership Omaha Program, which is offered through the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce.

After learning about the program, Kang realized the opportunities a program such as this could provide.

“I thought that since I am in Omaha, my home, this would be a good thing to do,” he said.

“I want to learn more about being a leader and thought it would be fun.”

Though Kang was excited to apply, he said he did not have high hopes of being one of the few students selected.

“I was with my friends when I found out. I jumped. It was pretty surprising,” he said.

Kang said he believes it was his knowledge on diversity is what qualified him for the program.

On the application, one of the questions was “What makes you diverse?”

Having lived in Korea until he was 7, Kang said he believes it was his answer that earned him a spot.

“I said something about having a different mindset because in Korea, you have to be a very good rule follower and follow even the slightest rules. In America, there’s more freedom,” he said. “People are not robots, they are not natural rule followers. They have their own minds and I think that’s what made me stand out.”

Over the course of five months, Kang will attend seminars and learn about topics including justice and government, heath and human services, technology and education, growth and development and media and arts.

With an interest in criminal justice and technology, Kang said he is eager to attend those specific sessions.

When the seminars end, there will be a closing retreat in March followed by a graduation ceremony in April.

At the program’s opening retreat held in late October, Kang said it was nice to be surrounded by others who are also looking to grow and he is happy to develop with them as the program progresses.

Throughout YLO, Kang said he wants to learn more about leadership.

“To be a leader, you have to have followers,” he said. “What you do with those followers and having a good attitude toward them, will help make you a good leader.”

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