For the past three summers, I have volunteered to facilitate a week long summer leadership camp for the Michigan Student Leadership. Camp is designed to teach the principles of effective leadership and to provide practical experience in applying these skills as student leaders. It is packed with hand-on activities for students through simulations and activities. This year, I was a captain for level two at camp. I was in charge of the curriculum and staff for my level and making sure they were well prepared for their councils. It was such an amazing opportunity to be able to train my staff and work on the back side of camp rather than directly with campers. It challenged me and helped me grow as a leader. I had to change the way I facilitated since I had to train my peers and teaching staff rather than high schoolers. I look forward to returning this year and gaining more knowledge to enhance my leadership skills.
This fall I took a philosophy class with my LAS cohort. This class challenged me and the way I looked at different issues. I don’t tend to think in a philosophical way which made the material a little hard for me to grasp.
I enjoyed that the class was mainly discussion because it allowed for me to learn from my peers and get a different perspective of things. In class, we had a lot of discussion where we could voice our onions and get different views. This was an extremely interesting concept. Going into the class I had some pretty firm beliefs on different issues. However after hearing some of my peers reasoning, I found myself questioning my beliefs.
Student voice is one of the most underused forms of communication. Students have more power than they know and educating them on the proper way to use their power is a skill that not a lot of students get. Many people don’t learn that their voice and ideas have power until early adulthood. Getting students to realize the influence they have early on can be extremely beneficial in the long run for society.
With that said, I decided to facilitate a workshop for high school students from across the state on the power of their voice. On November 18, 2016 I facilitated a Leadership Training institute (LTI) through the Michigan Association for Student Councils and Honor Societies. At this LTI there was eight different high schools, around 300 students, from the Metro Detroit area. They were all mixed together and separated into four different sessions; giving each session roughly 70 students.
From there, I split each session into groups of five and had them come up with the biggest problem facing their schools. From there, they sorted through their strengths and weaknesses and came up with an action plan they could present to the faculty to work towards their problem. They then presented to the rest of the groups, so everyone could see a variety of ways to use their voices to fix multiple different problems at their schools.
I found this facilitation extremely impactful for not only the students, but for me as well. Seeing hundreds of students from a variety of different backgrounds be so passionate about a cause and working together to have their voices heard really hit home for me. Especially with the current state of our country, seeing that students from all walks of life can come together to make a concrete action plan to better their schools was extremely inspiring. I cannot wait to facilitate this curriculum again and continuing to help students use the power of their voice for good.
One of the many programs that the Leadership Institute has to offer is called the Spark Leadership Series. Spark is a four week leadership training where you meet new people, learn about your own leadership style, and participate in different simulations.
The first week was a lot of work with your group. We made connections, set goals and expectations, and came up with our own definitions of what leadership was.
Week two was my favorite! During this session we took an exam to determine our own leadership styles. We then broke up into groups based on our leadership styles and we learned how we can incorporate our strengths to a group setting. I learned that I was a spirited leader which means I like to encourage others and put others before myself.
The third session was the challenge course. Sadly I was not able to make it to this session because I had to take my roommate to the hospital.
The fourth and final session we participated in a simulation called Bafa Bafa. The simulation was to show the diversity that can be found on college campuses, and the across the world.
My experience with Spark was so beneficial that I applied and am proud to be a facilitator for the spring session of Spark.
Leadership + Waterpark = A great weekend
The annual Connections Leadership Conference is held every year at the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, Michigan. The main purpose of the conference is to make connections with the fellow leaders of CMU and learn new leadership techniques through the speakers.
I was a little hesitant about going just because I had been to many leadership conferences in the past. But boy was I surprised. Connection was unlike any other leadership conference I had ever been to. The speakers were very interactive and educational and there was a session each day where you would make a plan to but your passions into action. My favorite part however, was the speed dating. It was a lot of fun making those new connections with fellow leaders around campus. All-in-all, I would 10 out of 10 recommend Connections Leadership Conference.