Chicken Soup for the Volunteer’s Soul

Leadership Training

One of my favorite aspects of being a leader is also being a servant. I love leadership positions that take place in the community, and that is one of my favorite parts of the LAS scholarship.

Being a leader and giving back to the community is a great way to demonstrate servanthood, and being held to that standard is very important. I also love that not only does LAS require that of leaders, but that CMU also offers so many fun volunteer experiences to choose from. Some of my most memorable volunteer experiences have come from just the last couple of years spent at CMU.

This year, my favorite volunteer experience was offered through my major, Elementary Education. Each year, the health residential college teams up with the education students and put on a Field Day event for students with disabilities, whether they are cognitive or physical. This opportunity was so rewarding, tiring, and humbling.

Waking up at 6am and not finishing until 3pm makes for one long day, however I wouldn’t want to spend my day any other way. I helped at a station where students tested their food sensory using touch, taste, and smell.

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Before embarking on this years Mentor Mentee Retreat, I sat down and gave myself time to just think about what I really wanted this weekend to look like and what I wanted to get out of it. Although this is my second year going on this retreat, it was still very new to me for a couple of reasons.

The first reason, and the most obvious one is because of my role. Last year I was that nervous yet excited Freshman who was ready to get to know her cohort and grow closer to her mentor. This year, I had the privilege of embarking on this adventure as a mentor to my beautiful mentee, Brooke Galloway. When I thought about this weekend with Brooke, I keep smiling thinking about all the fun things we were going to do together and about how excited I was to grow closer to her. Brooke is one of the sweetest girls I have ever met who has a heart on FIRE for Jesus and I love that so much about her. I was really hoping to be able to push Brooke out of her comfort zone and little did I know she would be doing the same thing to me.

I loved being able to watch my cohort interact with the new members of their LAS family tree and I absolutely loved the vibes of the weekend; the constant chatter and laughter coming from lifelong friendships being built, constant encouragement as friends help each other during the activities, and the sound of leaves blowing from the cool crisp air that chilled everyone’s fingers and toes. I gotta say, some of my favorite parts of the weekend were spent having quality conversations over a warm cup of coffee or hot cocoa.

However, my favorite part of the trip was the time I spent one-on-one with my mentee, learning about each other and growing with each other. I learned so much during our activities about how Brooke was a very strong leader and I admire that about her. I learned about how much more extraverted she is than me, but yet again research shows that yin and yang relationships are the strongest 😉 We spent the weekend laughing, pushing each other, and learning new things about one another. I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend with a better mentee.

Enjoy these pictures of our great weekend!

Year in Review: Leadership Style

Leadership Training

I would just like to start this post by saying “holy moly”!!! I cannot believe that I am just 7 days from technically being a sophomore in college. When people say that college flies by faster than high school, they aren’t joking. With that being said, I could write a whole blog post on how this year has changed me, and I might do that later, but for now I would like to share about what I have learned over the year about my leadership style.

Before coming into LAS, I honestly had no idea that there were so many leadership theories, let alone what they were or what they meant. After learning about all of them, I feel as though I really connected with the Social Change theory this year.

Being in LAS has given me the opportunity to follow a protocol that has allowed me to tackle many aspects of leadership. One part of my protocol that I would do even if it wasn’t a part of it, was to be involved in an RSO. The Social Change model applies to this in a sense that when you’re in the organizations, you are focused on the individual,  group and community. Within myself, I try to hold still to my values and beliefs before the group so I am competent and confident within the group. In the group, where I am now focusing on collaboration and interaction between myself and the organization, I am trying to instill the groups values into them for future leadership roles. For example, I try to implement the skills of helpfulness, being a servant, and collaboration among my group so eventually we can all foster these characteristics and implement them in our leadership behaviors daily on the job. Within the society, the group is trying to bring about change for the common good. An idea of this would be how certain organizations shape you into well rounded leaders that are career based, or major based, so you are ready to impact the field and others around you for the long run.

Through the 7 C’s of leadership, social change is able to happen. I’ll explain 2 briefly:

  1. Common Purpose- This is to work collectively with the group through shared visions and for everyone to participate actively in the purpose and goals of the group. An example of this would take place in SAVV (Student Advocates for Vegetarianism/Veganism) where they all share the common purpose of saving the lives of animals and protecting the environment from to the mass production of meat.
  2. Citizenship- This is not simply membership, but actively being engaged in the community where your ultimately  working towards social change. Although this is implied in every single RSO to go out and volunteer, this is another section of our protocol where 30  hours of service with in our community can impact us as leaders. As we gain more self knowledge in this act, social change can increase as others see the problems they face as connected to the problems of other people and choose to engage in it.

Social Change Model is something we should lead by everyday in trying to make yourself and the community better. Through this model you can find satisfaction and enjoyment from making a difference in the world. As emerging leaders on campus, this protocol is allowing us to apply the many realms of leadership in many unique ways where we can all make a difference.

I am so beyond thankful for this crazy and hectic first year of college and I wouldn’t have asked for a better freshman year!!

LDR200L

Leadership Education

Well folks, after LDR100 we just loved everything we learned that my cohort obviously just HAD to take LDR200. I was very excited going into this class with my cohort because I ended up having to miss a lot of LDR100 due to marching band practices. This class was the perfect chance for me to really learn some basic necessities for leadership as well as get to know more people in my cohort.

This class was tailored for us to learn how to facilitate and to determine what our most ideal form of leading was. Through this discovery, we all were assigned a workshop to present to the class. These consisted of leadership theories that we had to dissect and facilitate, that characterize the many takes and forms on leadership. The theory my group was assigned was called the “Leader-Member Exchange Theory” otherwise known as LMX theory. This theory really focused on how to be a successful leader through building good relationships with their followers so that they will want to be successful and you form a strong team feel. Our theory was a little different because most theories focused on either just the leaders or just the followers whereas ours focused on how they need to be able to work together to be successful. Through this workshop and through listening to everyone else’s workshops, my mind has been opened to so many different leader and follower behaviors and I have learned how to adjust my leadership style when I am working with all different groups.

Another requirement of this class was to facilitate an initiative, which is an activity that engages a group in a fun and interactive way, while also teaching them about the many traits that build a leader. My initiative team had teamwork which is a key component to leadership. To present our initiative we had a few different groups with about 5 students in each group. Each team was given a about 10 sheets of plain copy paper and were given very vague instructions to build a contraption that could hold a very heavy school book. The groups had to work as a team to decide on one idea and then help each other build whatever it was that they came up with. Each group was able to be successful and they said it was because they listened to everyones ideas and then worked together to build the best structure based on everyones input. Being leaders, it is especially important that not one person dominates a group, but rather that everyone’s voices are heard and taken into consideration.

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In the end, this class has showed me all sides to leadership and what forms I may need to use in certain situation, where I can better impact and motivate my followers. It has brought me closer to my cohort and has showed me what I am capable as a leader. I was able to work on my public speaking skills and really task my brain on other ways in which i can better my self and others. If you’d like to see my interpretation of leadership, check out my page on my leadership philosophy.

Future Child Advocates

Leadership Training

One of my favorite things I have done since being on campus was joining the RSO called Future Child Advocates. This club was formed to help raise awareness for children who don’t have a voice in this world. At our meetings we always discuss ways that we can better inform the students on campus and even people in our lives on how bad domestic violence has gotten. Studies show that 3-4 million children between the ages of 3-17 are at risk of exposure to domestic violence each year. This club has opened my eyes so much to the ways in which I can help children who need a positive adult in their lives and I have also learned what to do in situations in which a child might need serious help.

Just a couple of weeks ago I was offered a spot on the E-Board for this club as the Event Coordinator. I will be in charge of planning any events that we want to do such as fundraisers and programs that we host for children. I am very excited to begin this position and become even more involved in this RSO.

Finally, this RSO has been really good for me because I have learned many things that I can take to my class as a future teacher. Through videos we have watched and guest speakers that we have brought in, I know that I will be able to help any student that may need me and I hope to be that teacher that influences my students in a positive way so that they may see that there is so much good in this world