Followership

Project Unify: I AM ABLE

As part of being a Leader Advancement Scholar, I am required to partake in  community service. Despite the fact that it’s required, I enjoy staying involved in my community. One of my favorite experiences has been volunteering at Special Olympics. Special Olympics is an organization I learned to love during the past two years at Central Michigan University. For those of you who do not know, Special Olympics makes it possible for those who are differently abled to participate in competitive sports with other  state and national Special Olympic athletes. 10007426_10205852400682768_4982940145970982804_n

In addition to sports competition opportunities, this year I was able to be apart of the first Special Olympics Michigan Project Unify. Project Unify is an aspect of Special  Olympics that brings together Special Olympics athletes with non-Special Olympics athletes from high schools all over the state and gives them the opportunity to participate in leadership activities and facilitations. Project Unify focuses on teaching these students how to utilize skills that they have in order to become leaders in their schools and communities. Being able to facilitate these leadership sessions to these students is nothing short of amazing. It’s such an awesome sight being  able to not only watch them grow as leaders but to activity be a part of their growth. I loved every moment of facilitating and encouraging these students. They all ave such potential, and it seeing them realize that was something I will NEVER forget.

The pictue below is a special one. I created a special  bond with this wonderful gal. Most students were there with their teachers, however, her teacher was unable to spend time with her due to the needs of one of her classmates. Due to her teacher not being there, I felt it necessary to giver her slightly more attention. We clicked immediately. After only a few hours of knowing each other,she opened up to me and told me what most would consider to be her life story. She was adopted from Africa after watching her parents be killed. She said she doesn’t tell many people her story because “then they feel bad for me and treat me differently but I know you will still treat me like a normal person.” The moment she said this my heart melted. Throughout the day, I became her go-to. She opened up and participated in all activities. Watching her step outside of her comfort zone was a big step for her, and I’m so thankful she allowed me to be a part of that.

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If you have never volunteered at Special  Olympics, I HIGHLY recommend that you do. Special Olympics has one of the most positive and supportive atmospheres you will ever experience. You will make friendships that will last a lifetime. VOLUNTEER. You won’t regret it.

Camp Sunshine: The Happiest Place On Earth

This past week I was able to be a counselor at Camp Sunshine. Camp Sunshine is a camp for anyone with cognitive or physical disabilities. Camper/Counselor partnerships are one on one. Each camper has their own individual gift and talent and therefore throughout the week we lived by the statement, “Label me able” and got rid of the words disabled and handicapped all together.

 

Throughout the week, I created an unbreakable bond with my camper. She was one of the sweetest, sassiest, and most funny people I know. By the end of the week my camper had opened up to me and told me about all the negative names and words people call her at work and how it makes her feel. This immediately broke my heart. Following her opening up to me, we sat down and had a long conversation about how wonderful she is. A sentence that she said stuck with her that I said was, “God made you and God doesn’t make mistakes.” The rest of the night she repeated this sentence I would say, hundreds of times.

Also by the end of the week we had learned to tell time and to say our alphabet. Seeing how happy this made her warmed my heart.

 

Going into camp all the counselors always talk about how we cant wait to make a difference in our campers life. However, by the end of the first day, we realize that the Camper/Counselor partnership is so much more. Over the course of the week Lori taught me way more than could ever have taught her. This experience was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had.

 

When working with the population of people who have unique needs, please remember to be respectful.

Lead Team: Special Olympics Fall Games

Working with Special Olympics was one of the most beneficial experiences I have had. The athletes are  and inspiration. If I had one recommendation it would be for every person to volunteer at Special Olympics at some point in their life time. For those who don’t know, Special Olympics is an organization that puts on events/sporting events for persons with intellectual and physical disabilities. These events span across the United States.


In any normal competition, it is unlikely that each side will encourage each other. However, the atmosphere at Special Olympics is completely different. The atmosphere is one of most positive and encouraging environments that I have ever been in. Every athlete has a constant smile on his or her face. When awards are handed out, they cheer, congratulate and hug each other. When their friend gets an award they are just happy as if it were them. One of my favorite parts about volunteering at Special Olympics was the quality relationships that I created with the athletes.The biggest lesson they taught me was that encouragement is the key.


Volunteering at Special Olympics motivates me to keep a positive attitude Special Olympics taught me that everyone has something they can teach others. Keeping this in mind will help me to become a better leader because it will allow me to successfully collaborate with my followers. Considering all ideas and learning from others is very important when you are a leader. The athletes taught me that no matter what its always better to keep a smile on my face no matter the situation. This has helped me to become a better leader because positively motivates and a leader who does not motivate will have a hard time connecting with their followers.

I along with a group of my sorority sister’s will be volunteering at the Special Olympic Summer games in May.


On a side note…this past fall while at the Special Olympics I also got to meet two of my favorite people on this planet, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, Olympic Gold pairs skaters.

“People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it”

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The Golden Circle consists of three circles. The inner most circle is why. The middle circle is how. And the outer most circle is what. “Every organization on this plants knows what they do, some know how they do it…but very very few know why they do what they do it.” Most business and people act from the outside-in. However, successful, inspirational business act from the inside-out. They put more emphasis on why they are selling products rather than what they are selling.

When you tell a child they are not allowed to do something the first thing they will ask  is “why?” As we grow up the “why” starts to become “what.” As we get older, the reasoning behind a decision starts to fade while the “what”  in a decision becomes more prominent.

I believes that the “why” aspect in a decision begins to fade when children start school. When teachers teach, the teach the what. In History we are taught what happens when, who didn’t like who, this war lead to this war, etc. However, we are very often not taught why something happened the way it did. For example. Why did Martin Luther King Jr. lead the Civil Rights movement? All students are taught what MLK did, but why him? There were plenty of other men that felt passionate about civil rights. WHY him?

Why were the Wright Brothers able to achieve the first flight when there were other more qualified people who would be expected to accomplish such an achievement? I believe this to be because they had inspiration. They did not what the reputation for being the first men to fly, they wanted to accomplish this goal because it was something they personally wanted. They did it for themselves. They did it for self satisfaction. This is why they were the first men to take flight rather than the rich business man who wanted to build his reputation.

“People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” This statement plays a big role in leadership. Leadership is all about inspiration and therefore more emphasis is put on they why versus the what. This Ted Talk sparked my curiosity. From now on even before the simplest decisions I stop and consider the “why.” Considering the “why” has had more of an impact than I expected. In some ways it helps one to discover who they are. It helps them to identify their believes because in considering the “why” one must consider their reasoning for doing something.

Conversations with the President

Central Michigan has approximately student body of 21,000. At most larges Universities like this one the students barely know their presidents name let alone are able to have a conversation with them. However, that’s the Central Difference. President Ross is the President of Central Michigan University and I’m glad to say that I have had not only one personally conversation with him, but two. One of those time was when President Ross came to speak to our Leadership class. The class 50 minutes class was run as a question and answer session. Prior to asking our question President Ross would ask each student 4 questions. The questions were:

1. What is your name?

2. Where are you from?

3. What year are you?

4. What is you intended major?

5. Why did you pick CMU?

I really liked the fact that the President asked us these questions because it helps to make each student more than a face on a campus full of 20,999 other faces.

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The questions that we asked ranged from simple questions like “If you could have three wishes what would they be?” to questions as serious as “LAS students do an immense amount of work to qualify for this scholarship only to earn 2,000 dollars every year while there are other scholarships on campus that quadruple the amount of the LAS scholarship and only a essay is required. Why is this? Has there been any thought on increasing the amount of the LAS scholarship?

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Being able to have President Ross come in and speak to our Leadership class was an awesome experience. I feel that it is very beneficial for students to be able to get to know their University President and have the chance to ask him or her questions regarding their University because after all, we are the ones giving thousand of dollars to that University each year.