“Welcome to CMU” is what I heard from a bunch of screaming safari guides walking into Finch Fieldhouse. I was quite overwhelmed at first because there were so many people. Over 2,000 students were in attendance. I have participated in many leadership conferences and camps previously, but none of them were anything like this experience.
Leadership Safari is a program put on by Central Michigan University to help incoming students, whether you are a Freshman on your first day or Junior transfer, adapt and feel welcome to their new school. Many people will ask about Leadership Safari and wonder what did you do. “Wow” seems to be the common answer because you don’t really know how to explain a weeks worth of excitement, enthusiasm, friendship, eye opening, reflection, diversity, self worth, and so much more. We learn so much during this week in such an unique way. We listened to guest speakers including: “The Dating Doctor” David Coleman, Michael Miller, Ed Gerety, Slam Poets “The Asia Project”, and comedians Eric O’Shea and Alexandra McHale. These speakers all had a very interesting way to explain to us how to take the shoes of other people and walk a couple miles in them to see not just our way, but the perspective of others. Leadership isn’t just about self gain, but the betterment of people surrounding us. Let me introduce to you a group of new CMU students that really impacted my life.
Each participant in Leadership Safari get placed in a group of 8-12 people to do activities, and other interesting games and challenges. I introduce to you my safari group, Team Moth… Yes, moth. You would think that we could have had a name like Tiger or Panda. No, I was one of the many unfortunate participants who got a scary insect like millipede or termite. Anyways, we improvised to call ourselves the Mothia. Get it.. I know we are too clever, but clever is something very little that describes us. Our team (Pictured Above) (Top Row: Brennan, Nate, Dakota, Aly, Evan (myself), and Kylie. Bottom Row: Jeana, Faith, Lane, Kayde, Olivia, and Mercedes) is a very diverse group. They taught me so much Safari Week its unbelievable. Learning about different people and how they see one view completely different than another person is very interesting. This particular group of people come from different homes, with a different style of living, with different families, different group of friends, different views on life, and different views on one another. The one thing that wasn’t different about each other, is that we all consider ourselves to be best friends. Building the connections and friendship, I feel, is what Leadership Safari is all about. We might all be different, but together, we are all Chippewas.