Something that the Leadership Institute values is our gift of service to the world. As leaders in today’s society it is our responsibility to be able to give back to the community that we are given. We are to work our hardest to keep our Earth beautiful and never give up on it, even if many people already have. For the second time, I was able to go on the LAS in the D service trip in fulfillment of my Lead Team in my LAS protocol. This time I was going to experience this trip to Detroit on the other side of the deal. On our trip we had a fun journey planning the two days there. It may have been a little stressful at first, but overall everything seemed to run pretty smoothly. We took the LAS Freshmen to the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy where we had a service day with the students. Jalen Rose students are required to have community service, so it was nice to help them get service hours while we were all there to help. We also got to volunteer with CASS community center where we helped make food for the homeless and made recycled tires into floor mats. We were also able to have some fun downtown like visiting LAS alumni in the area, eating at Pizzapapalis, and seeing the Detroit Institute of Arts. Overall the trip was an amazing time and I truly see how amazing it is to watch our Freshman learn the importance of service and being able to share it with our community.
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! 🙂
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! 🙂
As Leader Advancement Scholar, one of our requirements is to be an active member of a all LAS group called a LEAD TEAM that has a specific job in order of the advancement of the Leadership Institute. The LEAD TEAM that I was a part of was our 2015 Competition Day LEAD TEAM. The LAS Competition Day is an annual event that we put on as our day where we just the top 80 applications for the Leader Advancement Scholarship. There the potential LAS students go through an interview and multiple leadership activities and are judged by current LAS. We all get to hang out a talk to the students.
Our LEAD TEAM was very fun and we got it all accomplished with ease. We only met once and all the rest of the communication was done through email. Competition Day itself was the execution of our LEAD TEAM. We planned literally everything, hosted the events, and made sure that everything going on at the event ran smoothly.
After participating with the Competition Day LEAD TEAM, I learned a lot about email communication. I personally wish that we met more often because I feel like other LAS benefitted more through their LEAD TEAMS then I felt with mine. Yes, I did have a lot of fun, but I feel like I did not get out of it what I wanted to get. I am much looking forward to hopefully be working with another LEAD TEAM.
I do not have any digital evidence for Competition Day, but here is a snapchat at Midnight the day of Competition Day and a text from my Mom.
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!
Many of you might have heard of the book called “The Fred Factor”. For those who haven’t, it basically describes a mailman named, Fred, who does his job to the best of his abilities. Fred goes out of his way to make his job the most beneficial to the people he delivers mail to. It may sound strange but Fred, is a leader that the know one really knew about but inspired Mark Sanborn to write a book about him. Leadership is not only about those who everyone knows about, but is little things that people don’t think about.
For my first semester at Central Michigan University, my final project for my leadership class was to be like Fred. Yes, it is very vague instructions but we could get creative and do anything we wanted to. My group decided to take the Fred Factor to a different level.
Yes, pillow fighting and smarty pants.
The whole point of the Fred Factor project didn’t have to be too deep and meaningful, but just being there for our CMU community letting them know we care and are there for them. We hope that by doing something as little as a pillow fight can brighten the mood of somebody and guide them to brighten the moods of other people. Lead by example.
If anyone out there reads any of my blog posts know that I attend Central Michigan University and know that I am a total leadership nerd. Everyone knows that the President of any college or university is always busy. I talk to my friends many other universities that have told me that they don’t even know the name of their President. My friend from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor told me that it was unheard of to even make an appointment with their president. Central Michigan is very different. We have a man who is very honorable and known by everyone here. Our President will make an appointment with anyone with a concern. Our President supports his students and makes his best effort to get to be a part of student activities. Our President not only cares, but believes in our student body. Our President is Dr. George Ross.
(Ignore me bumming out, I had a very rough day)
This picture was taken with President Ross when our Residence Hall had set up a meeting for him to have pizza and talk with him. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but it really is. He really is such a great guy to look up to because he genuinely cares about his students and went out his way just to have pizza and hang out with us. It was so nonchalant, and I can’t think of any university presidents that make time for the people that matter most.
About a week later President Ross came to my LDR 100L class to speak to us about leadership in his life. The 44 of us got to hear his story and ask him questions about anything we wanted to hear. My favorite thing I heard leave his mouth was how he told us that leadership is one of the most important quality a person can have. He truly believes that leadership education can do so much good for a person’s life that they have the ability to change things to make them right. I couldn’t agree any more. President Ross may just be known by students and staff of Central, but he is an icon that I inspire to be. Do I want to be the President of Central Michigan University? I don’t know, maybe someday, but one thing I can tell you is that I want to inspire others. I want to make this world a better place. I believe we can and I believe in anybody who thinks they can, but it all starts with an inspiration. It all starts with a person who cares. It all starts with a person like George Ross.
One program hosted by CMU’s Leadership Institute that I participated in was the Alpha Leadership Experience. Alpha is program run student leaders here at Central Michigan, so it helps CMU students relate and teaches us how to get involved on campus. Alpha is a five week program that helps us develop leaderships skills including team building, personal leadership, student involvement, and communication.
Alpha separates everyone into groups of about 10-15 people with two student facilitators. Our group, the Gucci Gold Bananas were awesome. I got to meet some very cool people and built even better relationships with the people I already knew before. I have always gone to many leadership conferences, camps, and other experiences, so I did feel like I already knew what to expect out of Alpha, but I did however, not take it as a joke and still made the best out of it. I was lucky enough to have a wonderful group with two amazing facilitators! I feel like I did take out with me some meaningful advice and now this Spring Semester, I have been selected to be a facilitator. I cannot wait to share my advice and watch our CMU leaders develop themselves to make our campus, community, and world a better place.
As a Leadership Advancement Scholar at Central Michigan University, there is a requirement to attend Central’s own Leadership Conference hosted by the Leadership Institute. Connections Leadership Conference is once at year located at the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City. I didn’t really know much about it other than everyone telling me how much fun there is and you are lucky if you are able to go.
We got to the Great Wolf Lodge and we checked in. The main set up is there are three different sessions that you get to choose where to go. These sessions all taught us valuable lessons on how to make you a better leader and how to use resources from our university. This was such a great learning expierence for me. After these three sessions, we went to dinner and got to meet CMU students from all different organizations. It was cool to meet many new people, not just our LAS Cohort. After dinner was some really exciting news. Two words. Water Park. This was a blast to say the least. Everything from water slides to the hot tub just soaked us in leadership. After the fun and joy of the water park, a LAS sophomore, Trino the Magician, performed for us a magic show that really blew our minds.
Waking up bright and early the next morning was probably the worst part about the conference, but we made it work. Breakfast was served and we were off to our final session. My session had to deal with procrastination. It was perfect for me. It really helped me out with my time management and it will definitely be something I will use for the rest of my life. After this session, we were sent together with our LAS cohort and talked about what we liked, disliked, and were indifferent about with our cohort. This is were I felt some tension in the room, but talking it out was the best thing for us. I really felt that after Connections our cohort bonded much better and made ourselves into better people. This is one reason I feel Connections was really important. The conference was not just about how I can make Central and our community a better place, but how I could make myself a better person.
As a recipient of the Leader Advancement Scholarship, it is tradition that a member of the Freshman class receives their own Mentor who is currently a sophomore in the Leader Advancement Scholar program (LAS). The purpose of the mentor in this program is to help out their mentee(s) adapt to the college experience, for they were freshman last year and know how the system works. Our mentors are always there for you for advice and sometimes, you are there for advice for them as well.
Meet this goofball. His name is Ryan. He is my mentor. Ryan Willis, I don’t really refer to him as my mentor, I refer to him as a really close friend. When I first met him as my mentor, he described to me that he doesn’t want to be a “Mentor”, but a friend there for me when I need help and I would be a friend for him when he needs help. I have learned so much from Ryan as my mentor because in my opinion, mentorship is not about being “above” their mentee, but setting an example of how to live to effectively make our world a better place. My first night of college after Leadership Safari, I was expecting to go back to Barnes Hall to go to bed and prepare for my first day of classes. I’m so glad that didn’t happen. I got a phone call at midnight from Ryan saying, “Hey! I’m outside Barnes. Grab a swimsuit and we are going on an adventure!” I head to his car with my big, David, from CVFC (College Volunteer Facilitators Corps) and we drive downtown to Island Park. David is also a sophomore member of LAS but acts as a mentor in a different organization we are both part of. Of course, I have been in Mount Pleasant for 5 days and I have no idea where we are. We walk around this park and end up at this bridge that is above the Chippewa River. Ryan then grabs onto the other side of the bridge to a point where he is just dangling. David says, “We aren’t jumping are we?”. Ryan responds with “Of course we are!”. I was so scared. I look down the bridge to about a 15 foot drop to the water which I could barley see. When I saw David say that he was in, I had no choice but to follow. “There is no way that I am going to watch my Big and my Mentor jump off this bridge without me.” I thought with confidence. I go over to the other side and I say “We jump on 3…. 3…. 2…. 1….” I closed my eyes and just jumped. Ryan and I both fall and pop up above the water to see that David didn’t jump. Ryan and I were so pumped that we went to go do it again hoping that David would come with us. This time we all jumped and had an amazing time. This was quite the adventure for my first night in college. I do feel like I did become closer with Ryan that night.
The next day, Ryan took me over to his mentor’s apartment to meet the rest of the “family”. I met Ryan’s mentor Rachel, Rachel’s mentor Courtney, Courtney’s mentor Veronica, and Veronica’s mentor Nate. This was our LAS family tree. We got to talk and I luckily got to meet some pretty awesome people, two that have already graduated from the LAS program. I can’t believe how much LAS changed their lives and the importance to live in the moment, because once it is over, it is over. They all had story’s like my story of bridge jumping the night before. They did tell me however, that one of my favorite memories that I will make will be at the LAS mentor/mentee retreat.
(My LAS Family Tree. Picture from left: Nate (GGGG Mentor), Veronica (GGG Mentor), Courtney (GG Mentor), Rachel (G Mentor), Ryan (Mentor), and Evan (Myself/Future Mentor)) The Mentor/Mentee Retreat is finally here. The night before I hung out with my family tree and had a good time. The day after, Ryan, myself, and the rest of the Freshman and Sophomore classes of LAS were on their way to Eagle Village for two days of bonding and leadership activities. When we arrived, we were separated into different groups of mentor/mentee pairs. We did different team building leadership activities and a rope coarse throughout the two days. I feel that I have already been so close with Ryan, that the retreat just made us closer. Something I have learned from the retreat was how other mentors in the program were also mentors to me. LAS, no matter what class you are, is a huge family. I learned so much from other Sophomores in the program and I know I could go to any of them for help and not just my mentor. From what I have learned from our Mentor/Mentee retreat, I will not only be a Mentor to my future Mentee, but to all of the future freshman of LAS.