Thirteen students gathered from seven universities to attend Leadership Honors Bootcamp in Washington, DC. May 17-22, 2015. Institutions that participated include: Kansas State University, The University of Georgia, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Texas Tech University, North Dakota State University, The University of Arizona, and Morgan State University.
The students carried the banner for Family & Consumer Sciences/Human Sciences ranging in majors from nutrition sciences to interior design, and pre-law. The facilitator, advisory chair, and visiting President of American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences commented about the high quality and enthusiasm of the students. Comments below are made by the students upon completion prior to departing with recommendations to other students interested:
- You will never forget this experience. I feel like a much better me and I couldn’t be more grateful. It was the most incredible learning and one of the best experiences of my life. - UMES-This program literally changed my life.- UGA
- Life changing opportunity. – NDSU
- This is an amazing experience that is applicable and relevant to school environments as well as career. I loved the process and it has been truly an “honor” to be part of something this amazing. -Texas Tech
- The best way to improve student life is through education and leadership. This experience allowed for education in leadership which can be implemented in organizations and campus leadership positions I have never truly experienced so much personal growth and self-discovery through any other program. –KSU
- You can never stop discovering new leadership potential within yourself. This program has handed me the shovel, and I put the effort to uncover new skills and strengths. I have never once learned to value silence – I took the mind for granted. – UofA
Over the course of five days, students learned, engaged and actively participated in various experiential leadership events, activities, and opportunities and truly left the nation’s capital as changed individuals. The program focused on team and individual growth, elements of team dynamics, personal impact, emotional intelligence, and meeting design. Self-discovery was at the core throughout the week. Designs such as the Inner/Outer, 7&7, Genie in a Bottle, Effective Communication Process (ECP), Conflict Resolution/Peace Management, and the Johari Window allowed the students to not only gain a greater understanding of leadership techniques, but also provided them with a forum in which they were able to immediately apply their newly learned skills. And, the students sincerely practiced and applied their learnings throughout. Role playing, innovative designs, real-life situations within the group allowed the group to deepen their
knowledge of how they individually impact groups. Students discussed the foundations and fundamentals of leadership today/history of management, positive organizational leadership, the impact of empathy, interviews and advocating for one’s self, qualities of a good leaders to name a few.
At the end of the program, students provided feedback about their experience and asked to rate recommending the program to others. The responses spoke volumes about the impact the program had on the students. This group in particular embraced the learning around communication skills and conflict resolution which came as a result of intensive work, interpersonal relationships, and real-life situations. Since technology is a large part of communications, students experienced the art of dialogue once again – heart to heart, mind to mind.
Rating on recommending to other peers: 9.8 (Scale: 1-Recommend to 10-don’t miss the opportunity if you have the chance)
- “I learned a lot about myself. Now that I am aware of my strengths and my opportunity areas, I feel that I can become the best leader of my ability.”
- “In the future, I definitely will use the techniques for decision making and conflict resolution. I always try to avoid conflict, but it feels good knowing I can handle conflict in a good way.”
- “I dislike conflict very much so just learning how to deal with it and be assertive is so important. I learned new techniques I can apply right away.”
- “Everyone has a role in which they contribute to a group. It is most important that each person is heard and feel they are valued. Groups have a dynamic and progress if allowed to grow.”
- “I now feel confident in my ability to effectively communicate and listen with empathy. Rather than getting defensive, I will stay calm and understand its importance.”
- “This is the most unique personal growth experience I have ever been through. I am so honored to be able to grow as a leader during this camp so early in my life.”
Finally, a concluding statement from a student:
- “My insecurities have diminished, my values have strengthened, and my love of people has been established. This program has been by far my best college experience.”
(LHB: We strive to change the world 12 people at a time. This one statement energizes and propels us forward and keeps our vision and mission alive.)
Leadership Honors Bootcamp was facilitated by Nancy J. White. Nancy received her Master of Organizational Development and Positive Change from Case Western Reserve University and provides executive coaching for leaders and individuals wishing to understand their personal impact and create personal change. She also actively leads groups through the assessment and understanding of the workings in an organization, and applies real-life current experiences for a deeper learning for students.
Also, although there was limited free time, the Washington, D.C. area gave the students cultural outlets ranging from visits to the Smithsonian Museums to a glimpse of the White House and the war memorials. Some went to Arlington Cemetery while a couple of others explored Georgetown. During one day’s session, we conducted a partial outdoor experience of reflection and deep discussion at Iwo Jima Memorial and the Netherlands Carillon (a gift of gratitude) which was walking distance from the hotel. On our celebratory evening, we visited the Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Veteran Memorial, National World War II Memorial, and the Jefferson Memorial. Needless to say, the students had a full schedule and were in our nation’s capital as it prepared for the Memorial Day holiday.Summary
Overall, it is believed that the five-day leadership program will play a pivotal role in the lives of the students that attended. At times we call this experience “the unclassroom”. In essence, it complements the student experience on campus and through an abundance of other mentors who inspire their education and growth. Basic leadership skills were learned for the first time for some or enhanced for others. In either case, students gained a stronger understanding as to their own strengths and weaknesses as a leader and as to how their colleagues and companions function. But most importantly, students left with confidence in their ability to carry the banner for the field and impact the world more effectively both in their college life and beyond.