IGNITING Youth Leadership

Hi, hello, welcome back to my weekly blog about all things LEADERSPARK! I have good news, and I have bad news.

The BAD news… This is the second to last blog I will be so privileged to write about my experience. 😦

The GOOD news… It’s going to be a good one.

This past week was a flurry of commotion, as we made the finishing touches to our weekend retreat: IGNITE. It was hours of making posters, creating programs, finalizing speakers… until it all finally culminated in our two day back-to-school extravaganza at the Rosedale International Center. We had about 20 students at the retreat between the two days, and it was so incredibly fulfilling to watch them each walk away with more knowledge and skills than they came to us with.

ignite 2

The retreat covered areas ranging anywhere from financial responsibility to creating a personal mission statement to the power of networking, and it was encouraging to see the ways that the students were truly engaged in the content. There are so many stereotypes that fly around when you work with the demographics of students that LeaderSpark engages with, and when you work with millennials in general: that they are entitled, they want to be given things for free, they don’t want to work. But working with these kids over the past weekend, I have seen nothing but the opposite. When you give youth the tools to build a successful future and show them that they CAN have it… They’re going to build themselves a dang mansion (or at least a nice apartment that they can afford with the salary of their first big job).

I even got the chance to facilitate one of the activity sessions that we did during the retreat– a group communication and teamwork exercise that required the students to all stand in a circle, hold hands, and work a hula hoop around the circle without breaking the link in between each person. It was a really neat experience to be able to use the leadership skills that I’ve acquired during my time in school at the retreat, so I’m definitely thankful for that.

Ignite 1

Overall, I can walk away from this weekend knowing that we really did some good here. We made a difference in the lives of these students– and not only for a weekend, but for the entire school year. We have shown them a path that will lead them to a brighter future, and I’m so excited to see where these youth go as a result.

One heck of a last weekend, that’s for sure!

Until next time, my friends,

Sam

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