Our LEAD program has been working with high achieving juniors and seniors involved in CWE365 this summer, training students in advanced life skills like finances, personal testimony, and community service. The program is more rigorous and rewarding than other CWE365 programming because it requires consistent participation and completion of homework assignments. The fifth week of our program, however, was a rewarding break from the intensive training of most LEAD activities.
Working with Paradigm Shift’s founder, Ryan Eller (ryaneller.com), the LEAD students, along with the Youth Strategies Job Readiness Program students, participated in a morning of leadership games and activities. Through engaging team exercises Eller specializes in training students and professionals to set goals, work as a unit, solve problems and lead with service in mind. With a commanding and creative personality, he led our students through a maze of constant instruction, lateral thinking and competitions.
LEAD is often a period of disciplined growth for our most mature students – a time to create budgets, to reflect and write about life experiences, or to build a plan a solid spiritual life in college, away from programs like CWE365. However, Eller brought an energy and dynamic to the group that echoed our summer camp itself – a place of laughter, sprinting, holding hands in a group and obeying bizarre instruction.
Students competed in a rock-paper-scissors tournament. They learned the five types of high-fives. Working in pairs, they built towers of blocks, alternately defending it and attacking others. They perfected animal noises, picked the color of their personality and thumb wrestled.
Silly games are often a gateway to more serious material. At CWE365, we’ve found that these activities often free up personalities and break down social barriers, closely knitting groups together. Eller eventually turned his energy and focus towards a discussion of the essential qualities of leadership and a time of reflection on our personal strengths and weaknesses as a leader.
Our LEAD students exited Eller’s seminar, not only with joy and a big grin but also with a better understanding of who they are as a leader of peers – how they can improve not only their shortcomings but also their strong aspects of character. Later, eating lunch with the LEAD students, each was able to articulate the value of not only introspection but also giddy fun.
To see more photos from the morning, click here.