Learning Leadership

            Working for the 1girl program at Champion Middle School has been one of the most humbling, eye opening, and educational opportunities of my life. 1girl is a program built to empower young women to aspire to become young leaders in society. By holding a facilitator position within this organization, I have acquired so many leadership skills myself. I never realized how many leadership skills I lacked until I was holding an administrative position this semester. My role within this organization is to assist in the creation of the curriculum while leading on site at Champion Middle School where I oversee three other facilitators. Entering into my second year at Champion, it was easy for me to desire to take the reigns from the new facilitators coming in and want to run the program the way I had been doing it the year before. I was not open to many of their ideas and opinions and I felt as if I knew all of the answers. It was really difficult to make the transition from being the only facilitator to an administrator. My role now was to do the background work so the facilitators could run the program smoothly and if they ever had questions or concerns they could consult with me. I was to assist the new facilitators and allow them to experience and fall in love with this program the way that I had the year before. But I struggled with this. When they came to me with ideas I was quick to turn them down, feeling as if I knew what was best for the girls and they should just follow my lead… I was the one in charge right?! But thank god that my boss stepped in or I would have failed, not only myself, but also, the facilitators, the program and most importantly the girls at Champion! Through some conversations, she helped me to realize the irony of me leading a group of young women to be leaders while I was struggling with what being a leader looked like! This helped me to realize how my lack of leadership skills could have a large affect on my girls and the program itself. We talked through some options on how to be a good leader and what it takes. We discussed many things like trusting the facilitators and allowing them to try out different techniques with the program. When I presented this new approach to the facilitators at my site, they were super excited. From this experience I really learned how to be an open and inclusive leader. I learned the importance of listening to other’s views and ideas and also that sometimes it is more beneficial to take a back seat and give the floor to others. We won’t have all the best ideas, even if we believe we do, and we definitely will not have all the right answers every time. The beauty of having a diverse team is the access that you have to different views, although if you don’t even consider these alternative options you will truly miss out on the opportunity to be the best! Learning this was amazing and I am so thankful to be a part of a department that truly cares about my growth and achievements and will do whatever it takes to help me reach them. The Department of Social Change not only benefited me in this area but also benefited my middle school girls. By allowing me to create a curriculum out of this lesson that I learned at the age of 20, the girls at Champion Middle School received a lesson in learning how to be a leader at the age of 12. Oh how I wish I had the opportunity to learn these lessons at their age! So thankful for this program!

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