A year ago, I started to think about how I would use my STEP money. After much thought, I decided to attend Leadership Academy during the Summer of 2015. Leadership Academy is a week long camp for college kids around the world who are in Circle K. Circle K is an international service organization for college students across the world. This camp took place in the middle of nowhere Indiana where for the whole week I had no cell service or WiFi. Leadership Academy only accepted 60 applications and I was one of the 60 to be selected to attend. The trip started with a fun four hour car ride where I got to know two of my fellow friends more.
While talking about servant leadership for the week, I realized that I am still not the best leader. As a servant leader, you need to step back and allow others to lead. You can not do everything on your own but ask for help. Also opening up to others is really important and creates the strong bonds in whatever group and/or club that you belong to. We also spent many hours writing in our journals. It started with our definition of leadership in 6 words. I have learned that everyone has a different definition and needs to be accepting of all.
All of our thoughts were written in our journal. In this journal was my life during the week. This helped me to learn how important it is to reflect. Everyone is so busy, that we never stop to think about our actions. One writing prompt was picking 5 of our favorite quotes from great leaders. These quotes helped me to think deeply about what I believed in. Another was to write about a hero you have; here it made me realize how much I love my dad and do not show it enough to him.
Everyday, I spent the morning in the Great Hall with all of the other 59 Leadership Academy members. We had long discussions and mini lessons about servant leadership. One whole day we had a guest speaker come who talked about staying positive as a leader. One game we played with him was not to say the word “no”. For many, this was hard to do. We also played a trust game to help us learn that everyone is a leader. With the guest speaker, we played the game cross the line. In this game, it made us think deeply about what we value in and what our beliefs really are. It also helped me to realize that I am not alone.
We also were in our neighborhoods where we got more personal with each other. In my neighborhood, we were called the Lightning Strike. One day we talked about a game we all played where other teams were mad at us for worrying about ourselves first. During this time, we reflected how we were right to do what we did despite the negative attitudes from everyone else. Sometimes, you have to go against the norm. We also talked about action plans to improve our own campus about one issue. This gave me ideas to take back to my own Circle K Club such as making everyone feel welcomed.
In the middle of the week, we all did different service projects. Circle K focuses on the tenets of service, leadership, and fellowship. During my service project I was with one friend who I had met from Washington State. She and I stained picnic benches for the camp that we were staying at. Here I learned that everyone is different and comes from different places. Another fellowship activity that helped me connect with other and how to work as a team was the Amazing Race. We had to earn the most points doing different activities. Here you had to be supportive of each other.
Now six months later, I am busy with classes but what I have learned from the seven days at Leadership Academy I will never forget. Life is all about the little moments, showing people that you care. I am a district secretary for the Ohio District for Circle K. This week showed me how important it is to be accepting of others. It is okay not to always be in charge of something. I am becoming a teacher and during the first year, it will be rough; the week reminded me how important it is to journal and to stay true to yourself. I am now part of the 2015 graduating class of Leadership Academy and now have 59 close friends around the world I can talk to anytime,