Leadership Safari Guide Round 2

In the beginning of the school year, I was able to participate as a Leadership Safari Guide for a second year! Yes, it is one of my favorite times of the year. I know, it is stressful and nerve racking to get ready to start up another school year, however Safari very knows how to pump me up first the start of the semester. Safari does take up the two weeks before the start of classes and people will always ask me, “Evan, why do you like Safari so much?” I’m going to try to blog for the reasons why.

First all, Leadership Safari is a program put on by Central Michigan University to help incoming students adapt to their first year on our campus. There is so much excitement, enthusiasm, friendship, eye opening, reflection, diversity say just a few things. Participants 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 Ebony Stewart. These speakers all provide education, motivation, and different perspectives to all, including the guides. Leadership isn’t just about self gain, but the betterment of people surrounding us. Participants also get to go on excursions, challenge courses, and learn how to grow as a community.

The participants are the main reason why I love to work with Safari, but a great incentive of being on Safari staff is the friends and connections you make. The friendships that formed within my core team was phenomenal and I still keep in contact with today. The sleep deprivation, tears, laughs, and bond really does create a family in two weeks. Because I will be back for a 5th year at Central, I am so proud to say that I will be returning to Safari and as guide!

 

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Service Learning and Alternative Breaks

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!