Middle School Student Council Leadership Retreat
by Student Council members Sophie and Yuki
When we hear the word "Leadership" we often think about one person standing up and guiding others. The Middle School Student Council Leadership Retreat was designed to show us that there are other ways of becoming a leader.
Our school's mission statement is Live Learn Lead. During the Leadership Retreat we focused on leading. YIS defines Lead as "taking action and empowering each other to build a caring community and make a difference." The retreat helped us broaden our personal understandings of what being a leader means to us.
By interacting with others and spending time with people who we aren't usually around, we, as the Middle School Student Council, were able to find our strengths as a team and how we work together. We were divided into different mixed groups and we collaborated on mini projects. We noticed that sometimes it was difficult to work efficiently with other strong leaders because they all have different, solid ideas that they wanted to communicate with everyone else. That was when we realized that you can be a leader by listening and supporting others and their ideas as well sharing your own.
We bonded as a group by playing some fun and unconventional games that Mr. Clark introduced. Following this, we had to recreate the game as a group using our creativity, communication and collaboration skills. While one group easily came up with many ideas, the other group worked on sharing and deciding what to change and what to play. They worked through their miscommunication and eventually played multiple versions of the games they came up with. Instead of hindering each other we learned to empower each other.
Once we had lunch and a quick break, we went back to work, this time, focusing on our public speaking skills. We researched what the elements of a good speech are, and explained them to the audience. The fun part was how we presented our findings. Half of our small group was supposed to give a "bad" version of a speech. Then, the other half of the group would show what a good speech would look like. This was a fun exercise because even though the bad speeches were funny and ridiculous, we were able to identify what wasn't effective, and how we could improve on it in our own speeches in the future.
The Middle School Student Council Leadership Retreat was a valuable one, allowing us to learn many new skills as a group and as individuals which we can apply throughout the year in various roles and contexts, including as the Middle School Student Council.