#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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The Fred Factor and Leadership

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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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGFACX2FujQ

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.

Fred factor

Connections Leadership Conference 2014

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.

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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.

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Mentorship and the Mentor/Mentee Retreat 2014

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.

Ryan Willis

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.

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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.

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(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.

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