SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
By Colton Wade
On February 17-19, four members along with an adviser from Shelbyville High School's National Honor Society attended an event that can only be described as phenomenal and life altering. It was the 2012 LEAD (Leadership Experience And Development) Conference in Chicago, IL. The theme of the event was 'Energize Your Leadership.' “LEAD Conferences provide professional development for advisors and leadership training for students. Attendees take part in structured leadership activities and breakout sessions for student council members, Honor Society members, and other leaders. Customized sessions address the unique needs of students and advisers in middle level and high schools.” This is how LEAD describes its self; however, I believe that this description alone does not do it justice. Therefore, I will do my best to describe just how fantastic this event is.
As mentioned earlier, four members, Alex Bunton, Ethan Turner, Colton Wade, and Matt Warner, along with an adviser, Mrs. Davis, attended the conference in order to improve themselves, the entire student body, and the NHS. Each of us were expecting to be able to bring back something to share with the school and we all expected to have a great time, but the things we brought back, and the lessons we were taught, and even the fun we had was all beyond our imaginations. It truly was an eye opening experience.
Before I jump into the personal experiences and benefits of those who had the opportunity to attend the 2012 LEAD Conference in Chicago, it is absolutely vital that I explain how the whole event was set up. The first day started off with an opening general session which was composed with a motivational speaker. A general session is when all students and advisors are together to listen to the designated speaker and participate in any activities that the speaker may have in store for them. The first speaker was A'ric 'The Dream Achiever' Jackson (I will discuss the teaching styles and lessons of each speaker soon). After the opening session, the students were broke into different rooms and separated from their fellow classmates. In each room the students participated in activities with people they've never met before. However, after the session was over, the students made new friends and learnt that trust begins when you introduce yourself with your name. Throughout the entire weekend, students met and made new friends everywhere they went. The second day started off with an energized presentation that got the students and advisers ready for the rest of the day. The full day was scheduled with sessions excluding lunch and dinner time. At the end of the day, each student had attended at least 5 individual sessions of their choosing. The sessions included such things as helping those unfortunate in Africa, working together as a group, learning and avoiding stereotypical outlooks, community service ideas, learning leadership styles, learning to manage your life, fundraising ideas, developing a “just do it” attitude, discovering the lives of people world wide, building self confidence, being yourself and being proud, and much more! Even after learning so much, the day was not even close from over yet. There was still another general session with motivational speaker Scott Greenberg. Finally, the third day was a 2 hour closing general session with motivational speaker Ted Wiese.
As mentioned above, there were three main motivational speakers for the 2012 LEAD Conference in Chicago, IL each with their unique and affective strategies. The first speaker was A'ric 'The Dream Achiever' Jackson. He was full of energy and had the entire audience on their feet. He told the audience to not be “scurred” (his substitute for the word scared) and that they are the leaders of the future. He was a real hit with everyone at the LEAD Conference. He also told his story about how he was bullied as a kid and they told him he would never amount to anything. However, today he is living his dream as a successful writer and motivational speaker for the leaders of tomorrow. The second speaker was Scott Greenberg. Scott taught the audience about the things that hold people back from becoming something greater such as worrying about your appearance, listening to that heckler in your head that tells you that you can't do something, needing to be right constantly, and staying in your comfort zone. In his general session, he had all the students on their feet and moving around meeting new people while doing different activities like dancing, ankle shakes, and much more. He even hosted a “Whose the Biggest Dork?” contest to get the students to understand that you are who you are and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. His session was full of laughter and fun. Everyone was out of their comfort zone and enjoying themselves. The next speaker was Ted Wiese. Ted Wiese was a fun motivational speaker. He had the audience play “Ted says” to get the point across that you have to listen. It was a fun contest that had everyone wide awake. He then proceeded on to teach some valuable life lessons such as there is a different perspective for everything that happens and he proved this with a little exercise. He also spread the words of students that had talked to him earlier in his life to spread messages such as don't text and drive. He then continued to explain that instead of bringing others down, why not bring them up. Ted said that in order to do that you have to bring yourself up first. One trick he gave the 2012 LEAD Conference audience was to just say “I feel great!” when someone asks you how your doing. Ted Wiese was an excellent speaker and he was perfect for closing the 2012 LEAD Conference.
I and the others that went to the conference learnt lessons that we will never forget and will carry with us throughout our lives. It seems everyday lessons were put into a better perspective through this conference. 'Never give up' is now one of the most important phrases to me. I've learnt that embracing failure leads to success. I strongly feel that this is an event that Shelbyville High School students should attend annually. It benefits both those who attend and those that the attendees bring back information and life lessons to. It benefits the community. The whole event took each student and turned them into something like the heroes you see on movies. The only difference is that these students are real. This generation of students is the leaders of the future. They are the answer to the world's greatest issues and it would be unwise to not see that. Therefore, it is vital that they are prepared and understand how to be a leader and the LEAD Conferences do just that. More information about the speakers mentioned in this article visit the following websites: http://www.scotgreenberg.com ; http://www.heartedtalk.com ; http://www.aricjackson.com
SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
By Colton Wade
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