By Mike Schuh

bBALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore Ravens have always been good at developing and fostering leaders within their team, but now they’re using their expertise to help young female athletes.

As part of L.I.F.T. – Leading and Inspiring Females to Thrive – the Ravens are doing leadership training for 60 area high school athletes.

At “The Castle,” the Ravens are used to seeing leaders on the field, but the leaders it housed Tuesday are all in high school, and they’re all young women.

“Women are important, and we want them to know they’re important and strong, and they can do what ever they put their minds to,” said Kelly Quinlan, with the Ravens.

Different leadership moments will require different leadership styles. These female leaders of tomorrow got classroom time with a sports leadership professional.

The Ravens also brought in Baltimorean, and the most awarded active Paralympian ever, swimmer Jessica Long, who talked about possibly making it to a fifth Paralympics.

She was about the age of these young women when she realized, her story about overcoming the loss of both of her legs as a toddler, is inspiring to others.

“Here I am as a 14-year-old and not feeling like my story is anything special,” said Long. “I’m just doing what I do day-in and day-out. Nothing special, but just the reaction I got, that people are actually inspired by me, is really exciting because I’m inspired by so many people.”

Her message resonates with two of the athletes from Baltimore County.

“I don’t know everything and I feel like I’m learning so much between what I can do to help encourage people, and how I can have a better attitude in the game,” said McKenzy Hall.

“I lead by example, and I learned I should lead more by encouraging,” said Erin Palmer.

A good trait for us all to learn.

This is an idea that the Ravens came up with all on their own, but it’s been so successful, other teams are looking to copy it.

The L.I.F.T. program has expanded each of the three years it’s been offered, and the team hopes to grow it again next year.

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