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!

 

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#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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Mentor/#LeadChat Reflection

In our LDR 200L class we learned what it truly means to be a mentor. We all really reflected on our lives as a mentee and thought about what will happen when we become mentors. Our whole LAS class got together and discussed what to in specific situations and what we would do as mentors. We also participated in the mentorship #LeadChat through the CMU Leadership Institute. We get to use the positivity of social media to express our views to the world about leadership and mentorship.

My views on being a mentor have not changed, but I do know that I want to be there for my mentees and hope they know that they will be able to use me as a resource and friend whenever they need. A mentor’s biggest responsibly it to not take over their mentees’ lives, but guide them when they need. Let them grow and develop on their own but making sure they have your guidance and support.

I am preparing to be an effective mentor by talking and being encouraging to my mentees. I have technically have met both of them, but will meeting them a second time as their mentor.  I can not wait to establish a connection with them and will doing my best to make sure my mentees benefit off of me. Welcome to the Family Dalton and Bobby!

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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