Greek IV

This year was a big year when it came to me finding my faith. I was born Christian and went to a Catholic school my whole life until college. Faith was always pushed on me, but never chosen myself. When I got to college, I never pushed myself to find a relationship with God. In the beginning of the school year I realized that there was that one missing part in my life and it was Jesus. I got in contact with a different RSO that I never thought that I would join, Greek Intervarsity.

Greek Intervarsity, or known as Greek IV is nation-wide organization that pushes fraternity and sorority ministry. My first time meeting with Greek IV, I went through weekly sessions called disciplship where I learned the basics and importance of having your Christian faith in your life. I felt like I had learned a ton and was convinced that I would lead a fraternity bible study for my chapter. Every week more and more brothers came to my bible study. I was awesome being able to be that leader to introduce the Holy Trinity to my brothers that may or may not have had the best relationship with God.

Every week with Greek IV, I would learn something new and do my best to improve upon my own spiritual relationships and work on myself as a person. I got to travel to Indianapolis to attend Greek Conference and even chose to be baptized again, truly accepting Jesus in my life.  This organization made such a huge positive impact on my life and I cannot wait to continue with it next year! A huge shout out to my fraternity brothers for pushing me to do what I love. A huge thank you to Emmy, Steve, Holli, and everyone in Greek IV for helping me grow. An even bigger thank you to my Mom, Grandmother, Sister, and my roommate, Cameron, for inspiring me big time with my faith.

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!

 

#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! 🙂

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Leadership Book Review

A person and their ability to make possibilities possible form leadership, but the only thing holding people back is themselves. In this 2010 book, Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, authors Chip and Dan Heath really formed a good analogy to how people can overcome obstacles in their lives. These authors are both very qualified. Chip being a professor at Stanford’s Business School teaching about business strategies and organizations, and Dan working with Duke University’s CASE center. CASE is an institute that helps develop young entrepreneurs. Dan also founded Change Academy within CASE, which is a vigorous program to improve the impact on social leaders.

Reading the title, I was interested to see the authors’ view on how people can change themselves for the betterment of society. The Heath brothers really had a unique way to describe our brain and how we can overcome our fears to gain success. The Heaths use the analogy developed by Jonathan Haidt that our emotional side of ourselves is a giant elephant where our rational side is the human riding the elephant. The rider controls where we are going but if the elephant disagrees, the elephant will win every time. The Heaths say that if we direct the rider, motivate the elephant, and shape the path, we can bring out positive change.

These three little steps are short and direct, but powerful. The first step is to direct the rider. This step is very important because if you want to change something, you have to keep your head in the game. You, as the rider, have to maintain stability otherwise you are just guiding your elephant in figure eights. To guide your elephant, you need to have a vision and ambition to be able to move forward. This may be a hard step to take, but as long as you persevere and have determination then you are setting yourself up right for the next two steps.

For our next step, we have to motivate the elephants within you. Elephants are big and strong, but their soft spot is fear. Our emotions act the same way! If people control their emotions, then we know that no one can break us down. In order to motivate our elephants, we have to be in tiptop mental shape. First off we find our feelings we are scared of and break them down in order to prove to ourselves that we can make a change. Once we are comfortable, we as leaders have to find a way to motivate other people’s elephants to see the same view as we do. Once we direct the rider and motivate the elephant, it brings us to our final step.

Our last step is to shape our path. This step is vital for everyone who wants to make a change. Shaping the path can be whatever you want because it is your world. You have to remind yourself of what you did through the last two steps and your final motive to make this final step a success. This final step is what separates the leaders of society to the followers.

This book really does send a powerful message to CMU leaders and any leaders at all. Switch gives me an easy, but moving way to look at my life and what I want to do with it. It really gives me advice of how to turn my passions to action in order to create a positive atmosphere. I will do my best to follow the three steps of how to change something.

I would definitely recommend this book to my peers because of the use and application of it. It is a book that inspires me to fulfill what I believe I have to do. In any circumstances, I do honestly believe that this book could inspire any ordinary person to push outside their comfort zones to turn their visions of life into a reality. The best part of the book is that it is so general that it can be used in almost any circumstances.

Now that I have read this book, I really think that I have found a successful way to motivate myself to further my education. I’m sure that these steps will work for anybody. I know now to direct my mind to push myself towards my goals. I will motivate my emotions to realize that I can do anything I want because I am a powerful elephant. I will shape my path ahead of me to understand all of the endless possibilities that society and I will create. Anyone can make anything happen, it is just whether or not your mind is up for the challenge.

Does Leadership Come from a Yes or a No?

Leadership is a very vague term. Some say that leadership is the ability to get other people to follow you. Others will say that leadership is to make yourself better to inspire others. What do I say about leadership? Well, first off, I believe leadership takes the form of a lot of different things. I think that leadership can mean both having the ability to get others to follow you and betterment of yourself to inspire others. This is why I think leadership comes from a yes.

This is a very general idea and what your views on the words yes and no. I consider no to be a negative word that associates itself with the phrase “I can’t”. I believe that yes is very optimistic and regulates itself with the phrase “I can” and “I will”. Having a positive attitude can and will help you to persevere through any given obstacle that blocks you from the road to success. If you get caught up in negativity, it will just hold you down for long periods of time.

I believe leadership comes from a yes because I believe anything is possible. If we all continue to keep a yes attitude towards life, then that means we all have the attitude fix the wrongs and make them rights. In my future I believe in leadership as a yes because it defines myself as a person and a leader. Hopefully we can all use positivity as a positive impact!

Papa Francisco

One person out there in the world can be named the Pope of the Catholic Church. In Catholicism the word pope comes from a Greek term meaning “Father”. As a Catholic, it is my believe that the Pope is the closest and messenger from God. Only the most pure and good hearted man in Catholicism is supposed to be the Pope. In my opinion Pope Francis is not only playing his role as Pope, but actually following through his duty of spreading the Word of God and living his life the way Jesus Christ did. I’m not writing this post to debate which religion is wright or to preach. I’m writing this post to spread the leadership ethics that Pope Francis is currently possesses.

Pope Francis is often criticized for being “too liberal” and opening the doors to too many people. What these critics don’t understand that his leadership doesn’t effect just the Catholics on this planet, but the entire world. Of what I have noticed is that Pope Francis is living a life doing the best he can to resemble the life of Jesus Christ. For those who don’t believe in Christianity, Jesus lived his life in peace and did no wrong doing. All he wanted to do was spread his peace and help everyone, good or bad. Pope Francis is reflecting a life that shows that he cares about everyone and is peacefully fighting for the advancement of ethical leadership.

For those who follow the news, you well know that Pope Francis has said that the Catholic Church is open to gays, lesbians, transexuals, transgender, crossdresser, and literally anyone who is open to accept Jesus Christ as our savior. The Church is has often been bashed because people claim that Catholics are “homophobic” and aren’t open to gay people. Pope Francis has been one of the most radical Catholic Popes but I honor him for using the noble phrase “Who am I to judge somebody”. He welcomes everyone, wants the Church to be a safe place, and he even said to a little boy who’s dog had passed that his dog and all of God’s creatures will have a place in heaven. This statement contradicted the previous pope who said that animals won’t go to heaven. Pope Francis is opening up what Christianity is all about and lives his life as an ethical leader.

Pope Francis

2015 Making Dreams into a Reality

I would not necessarily consider myself a new me in 2015, but there will be some improvements. Actually when I looked back at 2014, I saw the best year of my life. I was President of multiple clubs and organizations in high school, graduated with honors, and, not kidding, three dreams of mine came true. These three dreams were what was most important in my life at this time last year.

Dream #1 Go All-State in track.

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Dream #2 Be awarded the Leader Advancement Scholarship and attend Central Michigan University.

LAS 2014 IMG_6383

Dream #3 Be selected to the College Volunteer Facilitator Corps (CVFC) and be able to serve the Michigan Association of Student Councils and Michigan Association of Honor Societies (MASC/MAHS).

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These three dreams shaped my 2014 and if they didn’t come true, I honestly believe my life would be headed towards a whole different direction. I put in the hard work and dedication to make this a reality, so it is time for me do something with it.

What I do, however, plan to do is figure out ways to embrace my old dreams and new dreams, create them into not just a learning experience, but ways to better my community. 2015 is the year where I plan on not just accepting my dreams, but help make a difference with them in my life. Now that a few of my dreams became a reality, it is time to put my passions to action. I plan on going into teacher education where not only do I get to educate our youth, but help them believe in themselves so they know dreams can come true if you put in your best efforts.

Meeting with the President

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.

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(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.

President Ross