Leadership and Service

This year I experienced something that is considered unique to me. Central Michigan University offers a program called Alternative Breaks. If you are a college student that attends a university that offers this program and haven’t heard of it, you truly are missing out. Basically you sign up for a social justice issue that you are interested in and you go volunteer for a week-long somewhere around the country. As a future educator, I signed up for Education and had the opportunity to travel to Immokalee, Florida and work with the students, teachers, and administrators of Highlands Elementary School.

From 9am until 3pm, I was in Highlands with 12 other CMU students offering our aid to the teachers, chilling with the students while being a positive role model, working with the administration by working on campus beautification. It was incredible seeing how well the school was run and how smart the students were. Highlands is a school that stresses leadership with their students and you can really tell how much these children want to make an impact on their lives and community. The school even hosted a leadership day where over 100 people from Collier County came to visit and see what these students were doing. These people included teachers from outside districts, business owners, superintendents, and other powerful people. I was blown away of how this day was almost completely student ran and how powerful their messages were. It’s almost scary that I saw more maturity, confidence, and motivation in second graders than I do with most adults.

Of course I got to have a little fun while I was down in Florida (mainly bumming on the beach after school), but overall, the message I got out of this week-long service trip is that I am even more confident that I chose the right major. I really want to continue to work with the children of America and try my hardest to bring the most out of them. These students are my motivation and inspired me everyday to continue to work my hardest so that one day I’ll be able to make the impact on them that they do for me. I am really going to miss Immokalee, but if I ever travel to Florida again, that will be my first stop!

 

Mentorship Part 2

Where do I even begin? Basically as a LAS sophomore you take a “mentee” from the newest LAS class and act as a mentor for them. In my case I was blessed with “mentees”! Thats right I am fortunate to have two in my hands out of all of the amazing leaders of LAS class of 2015. It was a really amazing experience to see how much Bobby and Dalton have grown throughout the year. I can tell how busy they are and how involved they are becoming on our campus. It is so crazy thinking that last year I was in the same position. I am so proud of my mentees and I cannot wait to see how great of a job they do as mentors next year to the LAS class of 2016. Wow I’m old now, but that just means that it is Bobby and Dalton’s turn to make their impact on a new freshman entering the world of college and LAS. If you guys are reading this, then good luck and be the best mentors you can be! 🙂

College 101

College is about education. We are here, most importantly, to earn our degree. I’m working my hardest to achieve my academic goals and use my degree to help me find a teaching job. That is what college is doing for me. For many people, college is not the answer and that is totally fine. Today a good chunk of the jobs out there require a degree and what happens to those children out there who can’t afford college or have been told their whole lives that college will not be an option to you?

I am part of a Registered Student Organization called College 101. In College 101 I am a CPV certified volunteer who helps with many other CMU students take at risk students and show them what college is like and how it is possible for them. We give these students a tour of Central, a mock lecture, show them different educational programs, and get to know them on a personal level. College may not be for everyone, but everyone should have a chance of going to college. This organization really makes me proud to be a CMU student and I hope that I can make a difference for these children to pursue there goals with high education.

COM 461L

Communication in Leadership is one of the last Leadership Minor courses that I will have to take here at CMU and I feel is one of the most important courses as well. I still have a couple weeks left of this class and I can already tell how much I have learned. My favorite part of this course is reading a chapter each week from a book called “The Leadership Moment”. This book takes a different event in history and learn a little bit about a leader of a situation and see how they either succeed, fail, or overcome a challenging situation. After reading a chapter, we do an activity called a fishbowl where people in the class are randomly selected to talk about the chapter. After their discussion, they break off into groups with people not in the “fishbowl” and further the discussion. I love learning about different leadership styles and can’t wait to use what I have learned in this class to develop my leadership skills.

PSC 105L

Hello friends, my name is Evan Oltman and I am currently enrolled at Central Michigan University. As posted in almost every other blog includes the fact that I am an LAS student here at Central, and being in LAS comes requirements like taking leadership oriented courses. Two of my leadership section classes that I am currently taking are PSC 105L American Government and COM 461L Communication in Leadership. Currently in PSC 105L we learn about the constitution and how our government system runs. In class we listen to our professor rant about many different things, but he sure is very knowledge about his subject and really wants us to do our duty as American citizens and uphold the constitution of the United States.

HDF 110

Once again as a Leader Advancement Scholarship recipient, the first semester of my Sophomore Year requires me to take HDF 110 and PHL 118L. My last blog was about my PHL class. Now I’m here right now to talk about this class I had a love/hate relationship.  This class was very annoying to me because it was online. The context was very interesting, but the class was accelerated by putting a 16 week course into an 8 week. The nice part was finally being done with the class and not having to worry about the final exam at the end of the semester. This class helped me realize the privileges of specific people and how we can all work together to strive for equality.

Moral Problems PHL 118L

As a Leader Advancement Scholarship recipient, we are required to take certain classes that follow our protocol. For the first semester of our Sophomore year we are required to take HDF 110, which is a whole other story, and PHL 118L, Moral Problems. Now this class was very interesting to say the least. First off, it was at 8:00 am. Rule number one of a college student is to never take an 8 am unless you either enjoy early mornings or you have no choice. Yes I didn’t have a choice. Realistically my body was at class everyday, but my mind surly wasn’t. Secondly, the first day we walk into class with this crazy old dude that has quite a lot of energy. That my friends, is Professor Gary Fuller. Now Gary is a mysterious figure, that I didn’t really get at first. His main philosophy is to basically question everything and then come up with an answer. Even the most ridiculous questions came up like whether or not it was morally acceptable to kill a cow because you were angry. That’s when it hit me right in the beginning. Moral problems wasn’t about what is right or wrong, but what we do as leaders to figure out how we keep everyone satisfied when it comes to making a difficult decision. This class did teach me how to think outside the box and I’m supper happy that we had a wonderful Christmas party at Gary’s.

#SLcamp15 #LifeLibertyL3

As many of you may know or for those of you who do not know, two of my passions include Education and Leadership. Prior to graduating from Divine Child High School in May 2014, I was selected to become a member of the College Volunteers Facilitators Corps (CVFC) which consists of college students who help plan and develop leadership curriculum, work along side the director of student services of Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP) and Michigan Association of Student Councils and Michigan Association of Honor Societies (MASC/MAHS), and teaching leadership skills to students all across the state of Michigan. We assist MASC/MAHS events like our State Conference and Leadership Training Institutes. Out of all the events we take part in, our Summer Leadership Camp is our “Christmas”.

CVFC members play roles in this camp such as JC’s (Junior Counselors) for all three levels of camp, A-Team, and Captains. This camp is a magical experience where high school students come for one week of the summer to meet friends, share experiences, go through leadership simulations, but most importantly learn how to develop our world into a better place. These students would blow your mind if you ever had the chance to meet them. Their passion, courage, and optimism are so powerful that these students aren’t the leaders of tomorrow, but the leaders of today. They are the reason I know that there is hope in the world. They are the reason I know that our generation isn’t as bad as the media portrays us. They are the reason I know that this world is going to be a better place. If you do not believe me, than I invite you to make a trip to the MASC/MAHS Summer Leadership Camp to form your own opinion.

This year I was fortunate enough to be selected to return to #SLcamp15 for a second year on staff as a level 3 JC. Last year, I served as a level 1 JC and it was one of the most rewarding positions I have ever held. Level 1 was a great experience because I was able to observe first year campers begin their leadership journey through MASC/MAHS. Being transferred over to level 3 this summer was overwhelming at first because I was a sophomore in college placed in a position typically held by juniors and mainly seniors. When I was a camper, I only completed level 1 and level 2 and I had viewed level 3 as the “top dogs” of the organization. It was hard to comprehend that I would be a level 3 JC. Either way, I went into the week with confidence and the results were fantastic.

Camp is a golden opportunity that I wish everyone could experience. Only a very small percentage of students get the privilege to attend all three levels of camp. The Americana theme for level 3 is a total hit with the hashtag #LifeLibertyL3 for all the campers and staff to talk about through twitter. Witnessing these campers and how they have grown from level 1 all the way through level 3 was such an eye opening experience for me as a JC. Some of these students started out nervous and not even wanting to come to camp, and these same students end up as some of the wisest, passionate, and  most engaging young leaders I have ever seen. Level 3 is split up into three councils, Red, White, and Blue with two JC’s in each council. As one of the Americana White JC’s I was blown away by how much these campers already knew about how to impact their schools and communities. But although they may be experienced, there was very much more for them to learn.

We as JC’s, challenged these leaders through Leadership Reactions Courses, teaching them about the Gift of Feedback, talking about their leadership bests and inspirations, learning what values define them, talking about culture and privilege, what issues in schools are going on, rediscovering their passions and how they will put them into action, exploration of higher education, and figuring out how do all of these relate to them as campers and what are we going to do about it. Level 3 is a lot about having fun, but the curriculum is rigorous and pushes the students to evolve into thinking globally by thinking locally. My Americana White Patriotic Polar Bears pushed themselves to the limit and truly discovered themselves while enabling others to act. Facilitating this emotional experience for them was such a confidence booster and really encouraged me to not just guide these campers, but to do the same as they do.

“What did you learn?” was repeatedly ask to them their last night as campers. “What did you learn?” The response: “Family” “Discovering themselves” “Leadership” “Passion” “Values” “Home” “Community” “Acceptance” “Integrity” “Lifestyle” “Happiness” “Hope” “Love” “Camaraderie” etc. This train of emotion caused many tears of campers realizing that it was their last night at a place that was judgement free. A place where they could be themselves. A place that taught them how to imagine the world. A place that taught them to not just imagine, but make it come true. “What did you learn from this camp?” “How will you apply what you learned?” “You are the leaders of today” “You make a difference”. “What did you learn?” B.E. Better Everyday #LifeLibertyL3

The link below was a camper made video that shows a little bit of the magic of camp. I even make an appearance at 1:22 in the video! 🙂

IMG_1872 IMG_1835 IMG_1806 LifeLibertyL3 Camp 15 camp 2015

Year in Review Reflection

My New Year’s Resolution wasn’t anything special, but basically just to have fun and make the most out of this semester. I have definitely made progress on these goals. This semester has literally pushed me to my limit. I have had my ups and downs, but I am doing my best to be the best I can be.

Since being here in August, I must say that LAS and the Leadership Institute has helped me grow tremendously and I can’t thank them enough. I have gotten involved with many different organizations. I became a desk worker, our Hall Council Vice President, a member of College 101, and an Active brother of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. I participated in my events and conferences and was even an Alpha Leadership Facilitator. I have truly advanced myself as a leader on this campus and cannot wait to get involved even more. I have learned a lot about myself as a leader while being involved in all my organizations. I have learned about how to work with others whether you get along or disagree with them. Working with others can be a challenge, but you got to do what you got to do to survive. Happy School Year!

ALPHA FACILATATORS IMG_1210 IMG_1462

Post-Service Trip Reflection

LAS in the D 6

As you read in my most previous post, I was fortunate to attend the LAS in the D service trip. Can I say that this was probably the most fun I have had all year. We got to go downtown and visit Ford Field and Lowe Campbell Ewald, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and eat some heavenly pizza at PizzaPapalis. This stuff was all the fun I had imagined, but the most important thing we did on our first day was facilitating a leadership day for the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy.

The Jalen Rose Leadership Academy is four year secondary charter school located in Detroit, Michigan. One of our LAS alum is a teacher at this school which had given the Leadership Institute a good connection to the school. Giving these children the opportunity to participate in leadership activities actually was quite inspiring. Most of the children of this school do not get the same opportunities to get involved in leadership roles like we do everyday.

The next day, we had the privilege to work with the Motor City Blight Busters and learn about their organization. The people who had started the organization had a dream and built on in. We served them by spreading mulch on a big field which will eventually be used for urban farming.

I felt that this trip was very beneficial for me to have. I have learned the importance of what it truly means to serve a city that has served us throughout our lives. Working with the students at Jalen Rose really impacted me since I want to become a teacher when I get older. Also serving with the blight busters I felt also gave me the motivation to want to go out and give back to the community. LAS in the D was very successful and I hope that I will get the opportunity to do it again!

LAS in the D 1 LAS in the D 2 LAS in the D 3 LAS in the D 4 LAS in the D 5