Leaders-In-Training 2017 kicked off in May on the Ropes Course and, now, at the end of the summer, they are halfway through and rocking it. Our big theme has been leadership – picking up leadership skills (both soft skills and practical ones) through repeated opportunities to take challenges – but the gleanings outside of leadership are innumerable. Read examples:
Sense of Belonging is strong: Every person has become a key component to the group. This group of young adults who didn’t know each other before the program are already becoming good friends. Texting each other, hanging out outside of LIT, and when one person can’t make an adventure due to a conflict, everyone notices and says how they miss that person. On one van ride, someone said “I miss Robert. He’s the funny one.” And everyone agreed. Another chimed in, “But Zach is the one who tells jokes.” And it was decided that these two had those roles. But then another, “I’m the one who likes cartoons.” and everyone laughed and agreed. Another said, “And I’m the one who’s into cars!”…a chorus of agreement. Each individual has a role – whether serious or silly that contributes to this team.
Trust and vulnerability is evident: Every LIT is getting the opportunity to share their “Life Story” with the group. Each person gets the floor for 6 minutes, usually around lunch, and shares about their upbringing, a person they admire, and between 1 and 3 big life challenges or events that have shaped them. The response from the group is striking – every team member listens with care and asks follow up questions. You can feel a change in the group dynamic as people get to know each other more intimately.
People’s big leaps are contagious: When one person really steps out of their comfort zone and challenges themselves, it makes others want to do the same. One young woman on our recent kayaking program was very nervous about being out on the water. She got to overcome that fear, but then was asked to assist in a “T-rescue” the process of getting someone back in their boat if their boat happens to tip over – a crafted scenario and not an emergency. She took on that challenge and later, the group was encouraging. One young man said he was inspired by her willingness to step up and do it even when he knew she was nervous. “It made me want to try something challenging too!”
There are countless more stories and exciting things that are happening on each program. Our lessons are taking an in-depth look at what a leader is and what they are not. I.e. Leaders look different; They are not always the ones who are the loudest, the ones in front, or the most confident in front of a group; They can be any one of us. And now we’re in the midst of looking at specific attributes of leaders. I.e. Leaders are caring, thoughtful, bold, willing to share about themselves, good listeners, and more.
Last weekend, our LITs got to practice their leadership skills with an authentic audience – STUDENTS who came to go kayaking (all between ages 6 and 12). Each LIT got a chance to practice their leadership skills – taking our group through a schedule for the day, giving specific kayaking instruction like how to put on a life jacket, keeping everyone feeling safe and happy, or just making sure everyone had on sunscreen and had full water-bottles. It was awesome to see them in their element and executing everything they had learned so far. Check out pictures of our last three adventures: a hike in the Blue Hills and two kayaking programs – one in Harold Parker State Forest, and one on the Charles River in Waltham.
6/25 Hike in the Blue Hills
7/29 Kayaking in Harold Parker State Forest
8/12 Kayaking with Students on the Charles River in Waltham