Leadership Training

Mentee to Mentor

As a member of LAS, each person receives a “mentor.” This person guides you through your first year of college, answers any questions you have, and is basically just a shoulder to lean on when you need one. I received a mentor when I got to CMU, and I was so excited to have someone to support me through my first year at college.

Now, going into sophomore year, I am ecstatic to receive a “mentee” of my own. As a tradition in LAS, it is a normal thing to keep yourself hidden until you plan a big reveal to your new mentee. I am so excited to reveal myself to my mentee and form a close relationship with her. Helping people is one of my passions, and I am so incredibly ready to do whatever it takes to make sure my mentee feels at home during the course of her freshman year!

In our LDR200L class, the TA’s prepared a workshop demonstrating how to be the best possible mentor we can be to the incoming LAS cohort. We were put into groups and received sheets of paper in which we were instructed to write down ten things we wish we would have known coming into college. After writing them, we discussed our answers and reflected back on the year. Some of the things I wish I knew before coming to Central were:

  • Not everyone will be your best friend, so don’t force relationships
  • Skipping class is never a good idea
  • Bring lots of storage containers to keep things organized in your dorm
  • Your planner will become your best friend
  • Only do things that benefit you- if they bring you down, don’t continue doing them

After reflecting back on the mentor workshop, I have many things that I want to accomplish as mentor. I want to be there for my mentee whenever she needs me, even if I am busy doing something. I also want to make sure that I keep in contact with her and make sure that I am not distant- especially when she is starting a complete new chapter of her life! Lastly, I want to make sure that I can be the best mentor I can be to my new pal, and I want to make sure she knows that she can come to me whenever she needs anything.

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Mentor/Mentee retreat
Leadership Development, Leadership Training

Relay For Life: LEAD Team

Being a part of an LAS LEAD team is one of the things required for the protocol, and I had the pleasure of working on the Relay For Life team. Over the course of the semester, we had a few meetings to discuss fundraisers and events that we would plan leading up to Relay. This LEAD team was my number one choice and I was super excited to get involved with the event.

Relay For Life took place on March 25th from noon until midnight. As a part of the Leadership Institute’s Relay team, we worked the table for the majority of the day. We set up a table with LI apparel and cookies and set a suggested donation amount of $5.00 for t-shirts and $1.00 for cookies. We also had a “Pie the LI” event where you could donate $2.00 and smash a plateful of whipped cream onto the face of one of the members of our team. This raised some extra money for our team and everyone got a good laugh out of it. Relay For Life was so much fun and I got to walk around the track and hear stories from the incredible survivors.

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Now that I have participated in Relay, I can easily say it is something that I’m looking forward to doing every year. Relay inspired me to appreciate my family members as much as I can and never take anything for granted. I lost my grandma to breast cancer, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss her. Relay For Life is an amazing event that I highly encourage everyone to be a part of. Our LI team raised over $1,700 to donate to research. The event was so much fun and I can’t wait to participate in Relay next year!

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Leadership Training, Service

Pre-Service Trip: LAS in the D

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On Friday, February 10th, I will be traveling to Detroit with my LAS 2016 cohort and some amazing faculty members to partake in a service trip. We will be going to the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy to lead initiatives and activities, and we will be volunteering at different locations that we are assigned to.

Living near Detroit, I am able to visit there pretty often. Whether it’s rocking out at concerts, going to baseball games, visiting little coffee shops, or just looking around the city- I notice how different it actually is from the stereotypes it receives. I am aware that there are many social issues in Detroit- some of the issues including the lack of funding for public schools, poverty, and crime. We hear about these things all the time on the news, but we never think twice about them. Most of the time, we hear only about the bad things that happen in the city- never the good things. Detroit is so much more than it appears to be, and I can’t wait to serve in the city.

The purpose of Central Michigan University is to prepare Michigan’s students and citizens for leadership roles in a challenging and complex society. This experience will help familiarize me with roles of being a leader as I perform tasks and lead initiatives with my group. Being assigned to run through activities will help me gain experience that I can use in the future. 

The vision of the Leadership Institute is to prepare the next generation of individuals who will act responsibly to improve the quality of life, improve the state of the economy, and improve the communities in which they live and work. This trip will work to inspire us and challenge us to open our eyes to the bigger issues that surround us. It will make us realize that we have the potential to change not only the community we live in, but the world, and I am so excited to do just that.

Going on this trip will help me grow as both a leader and an individual. I am ecstatic to be able to improve my leadership skills by running activities and leading things on my own. I have never led a workshop or facilitated group activities before, so I am ready to take on a new challenge and get out of my comfort zone. I am so excited to be able to volunteer while helping people in need. I am also ready to make new connections with people I don’t know that well and form new memories that I’ll always have to take with me. I love helping out the community and I am ready to be exposed to issues that our society faces today and further my knowledge on Detroit. Fire up for LAS in the D!

Leadership Development, Leadership Education, Leadership Training

Igniting the Spark

As a requirement for our LAS Scholarship, our 2016 cohort needed to attend the Spark Leadership conference. Not knowing what exactly this conference would entail, I was pretty excited for it.

I walked into the ballroom in the LI, picked up my name tag, and sat at a table with a few people from my LAS cohort and a few others that I hadn’t met before. Also sitting at the table was a staff member of Spark, otherwise known as a team leader. After being called up and introduced to all of the people participating in Spark, the team leaders switched tables, and my table got the pleasure of working with Connor Haskins.

The first activity on the agenda was finding out our own personal leadership styles- something I was very interested in. The four different types of leaders were Systematic, Spirited, Considerate, and Direct. After ranking a series of activities from 1 to 5, I found out that I was a Spirited leader.

After learning about what type of leader we all were, we broke into different groups pertaining to our own leadership styles. I went into the Spirited group, and we all discussed why we were categorized into Spirited leaders and what characteristics we all exemplified. Some of these characteristics were that we were all super positive, very outgoing, we encouraged others, and we like to be outside of our comfort zones. After going back to our tables, we chose what leadership style we wanted to improve on. I chose Systematic, because I’d like to be more organized and want to step back and think about things more before going ahead and doing them.

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Photo by the Leadership Institute

Later, we were separated into different classrooms and were put into two groups: Alphas and Betas. I was an Alpha, and we were required to participate in a game. The rules of the Alpha culture were that we had to embrace in a hug or pat someone on the back before speaking to someone, we had to ask about the men in that person’s life, and we were then able to participate in a card game. The Betas would come over to our Alpha classroom to observe our behavior, and we would always kick them out.

After debriefing our activity, we learned that everyone gets treated differently and sometimes you have to take a step back and realize that we aren’t all the same. You could be saying or doing something offensive without even noticing, and we need to realize that everyone is different.

Now What? I got a lot out of Spark, and-despite having strep throat and wanting to be curled up in bed- I really enjoyed the conference. I learned that I am a Spirited leader, and I now know how to help out when it comes to leadership activities and now know what to contribute. I am excited to take the steps towards becoming a more Systematic leader by organizing all of my things into folders, color coding my notes that I take in class, thinking about and analyzing my actions before taking them, and participating in many more leadership conferences.

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Leadership Training

Making Connections

On November 4th, 2016 I headed up to Traverse City, Michigan for the Connections Conference. The two hour bus ride flew by, and everyone was super excited to visit the Great Wolf Lodge. After unpacking our things and settling into our hotel rooms, we had an opportunity to explore around the hotel. We went to the front desk and got a free pair of wolf ears, met Wiley the Wolf, and hung out by the fireplace and caught up with friends in our cohort.

Soon after we explored, the conference began. We received a name tag and a booklet with a schedule of activities in it. We were then sent to our first session, which was written on our name tags. My session was titled, “Coles Institute”, and I got to introduce myself to several new people. We did an activity that included thinking about what assets you bring to the table regarding culture, institutes, organizations, etc. It was such a cool experience, as I was able to hear everyone’s different ideas.

After meeting with our institutes, we went to dinner. We had to sit with the certain colored sticker that was on the back of our name tags. Personally, I absolutely loved this idea. Although it may be awkward to sit at a dinner table and make small talk with strangers, it’s also a ton of fun. I sat at the black sticker table, and I felt the energy radiating off of the people from the minute I sat down. We had no problem at all making conversation, and I got to meet people who are studying the same exact program and major as I am. I love making new friends and branching out, and that’s exactly what I had the opportunity to do!

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After dinner, we had a few hours of downtime to check out the waterpark. My roommate Allie and I went down all of the waterslides and had a BLAST doing so. We walked around the water park and got to float down the lazy river and relax. After going to the waterpark, we had leadership “Speed Dating” in the conference room. This was an activity that pushed you out of your comfort zone and required you to introduce yourself to new people and find out some really cool things about your new friends. Speed dating wrapped up the end of the night, and we danced to music and then headed to the lobby to hang out. Instead of just going straight to bed, I got to sit down and chat and catch up with a few friends from my cohort that I didn’t usually get the opportunity to talk to. I was so genuinely happy while talking to everyone, and it made me smile to see everyone sitting around the fireplace, listening to music, sharing jokes, and watching videos. I felt so much closer to my cohort, and that was such an awesome feeling.

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In the morning, we went to breakfast and then headed to two different sessions. The two I had before lunch were called, “The Dirty Dozen” and “Netflix and No Chill”. “The Dirty Dozen” was an interactive presentation that listed the twelve excuses we tell ourselves while making immoral decisions. Both presentations were fantastic, interactive, and super informational. I felt so inspired after these presentations, and I could honestly say that they were my favorites of the day. We then moved on to lunch and two more sessions. The third and fourth sessions I attended were titled, “Leadership Through the Eyes of Disney” and “Leaders In Action: Implementing Emotional Intelligence Strategies”. I thoroughly enjoyed the Disney presentation, and I was left singing Disney songs for the rest of the day.

After all of the presentations were completed, we did a debriefing session with our institutes, packed up our bags, and headed back to CMU. Most of us slept on the two hour ride home, and a few of us watched the movie that was being played on the TV screens.

Now What? Reflecting back on Connections, I had an amazing time. I learned so much and took away valuable information that I can apply to my other classes and to my community at home. I also got to talk to friends in LAS that live on different floors that I rarely get to talk to, and I am so thankful that I was able to go. I am excited to take the skills that I learned from this trip and apply them to activities in the classroom, such as intertwining leadership skills with things we do in our everyday lives while also presenting things that people can relate to. I love learning about new ways to be leader, and I love meeting new people. Connections really helped me branch out and -dare I say it?- kindle new connections!

 

Community, Leadership Development, Leadership Training

Mentor/Mentee Retreat

On September 10th, 2016, I hopped on a bus with my LAS cohort and the sophomore cohort above us. We headed over to Eagle Village in Hersey, Michigan for the weekend. After hanging out for a little bit, we presented the “Road Map” life timeline project that we were required to create before retreat. Later on, we were required to do a list of team building activities. We were assigned a certain group, and we stuck with that group for the weekend. After a long day of stressful events, we all gathered around a campfire to make s’mores and give “shoutouts” to our friends and mentors. This was my favorite part of the night, because it really showed how genuine these people are. Everyone was opening up and showing their true feelings, and it was amazing to see everyone’s different personalities.

The next morning, we had some free times to climb rock walls and hang out. It was my first time climbing a rock wall, so I was as nervous as ever. It also didn’t help that I was afraid of heights! As I was climbing the wall, I was about to give up because I thought I couldn’t climb any higher. The mentors and mentees on the ground below me kept urging me to go higher and were cheering me on, so I got a burst of adrenaline and kept climbing. I felt so awesome once I reached my goal, and I was so happy that I was able to get over my fear of heights (for a little bit, at least). After rock climbing, we went back to our team building activities. These activities were stressful and required teamwork and concentration. For one of the activities, the requirement was to take two PVC pipes and a golf ball and get the ball to the other side of the room without it falling onto the ground. This activity took our group two hours to complete. Yeah, you read that right- TWO HOURS. Everyone was getting extremely frustrated that the ball kept falling onto the ground, so our group leader offered us the option to give up and move on to the next activity. My group wasn’t ready to accept failure, and we continued the activity for a while longer. Finally, after several (and I do mean several) tries, we got the ball to the other side of the room. My entire group started screaming and running around, and we all were ecstatic that we kept trying and finally achieved our goal.

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After the team building events, we moved on to the High Ropes course. As I mentioned before, I really hate heights. I was nervous to participate in the course, but I decided to do it because I wanted to gain a new experience and I was hoping to learn something new out of it. After saddling up and putting our helmets on, I climbed up the ladder with my mentor, Faith, and my LAS “brother”, Markus. The very first course I did involved crawling across a rope, and I instantly fell off and had to work my way back to the platform. Every time I fell off, someone would cheer me on and tell me that I could make it to the end of the course. Each course required various skills and determination, and it was extremely tiring. Not to mention, the course was around 50 feet off the ground. Once again, heights- not my thing.  Though I fell off multiple times, I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome of the ropes course. I learned new skills and got to step out of my comfort zone and try something new.

Now What? Retreat was something I’ll always remember, and I loved getting to bond with new friends from my cohort that I didn’t get to talk to very often. The event taught me many skills, and really showed me what leadership is about. I can’t wait to make even more connections with people within my cohort and experience many new things with them. I am excited to develop new skills and show everyone the leader I can be. I am so thankful that I was able to connect with genuine, kindhearted people, and learn new skills that I can use for the rest of my life.

Check out this awesome Retreat video for a recap of our weekend!

Leadership Training

Leadership Safari

Moving away from home was the hardest thing I have ever had to experience. Summer was over, and it was time to start the next chapter of my life in a completely new place with completely new people. As I headed up to Central, I kept trying to convince myself that the upcoming week would be amazing.

And it was.

Leadership Safari is a 5 day program with events that help students learn about leadership skills, while creating bonds within the group. Some of the events included community service, team building and problem solving activities, a comedy show, and a slam poetry show. The schedule had things planned from early morning until late at night, which made each day fly by. Having things to do all day really helped keep me busy, and it distracted me from the homesick feelings that overwhelmed me.

Each group in Safari had a team animal name, and I was put on team Blue Jay. Right off the bat, I knew this group was perfect for me. Of course, the first hour was a little awkward- we were put in a group with 15 other strangers that we’ve never met before and were basically forced to bond with them. I had no problem with that though, as I wanted to make friends in my new “hometown” of Mount Pleasant. The Blue Jays were always cracking jokes, yelling, laughing, and taking pictures. The group really helped me adjust to Central, and I still talk to the friends in my group today, even though Safari was a month ago.

Leadership Safari was such an amazing experience, and I’m so happy that I was able to go through it. The program really helped me take a step outside of my comfort zone, and I learned so many skills and really enjoyed the entire week. I made new friends, came out of my shell, and discovered that being yourself is the best thing you can do!

Now What? I am going to reach out to people to make new friends, join in on new RSO’s, and try to make the most out of my college experience. Safari showed me all of the different opportunities and programs that CMU has to offer, and I can’t wait to start this new chapter of my life by getting involved and having the time of my life.

Check out the Leadership Safari 2016 video!