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All in the Family: Parents and Kids find Inspiration and Self-Realization in State Leadership Programs

LM New logo SquareMLW_2017logo“It was life changing. I really believe that.”

That is how Kim Coble ‘04 describes the effect that participating in Maryland Leadership Workshops (MLW) has had on her two children.

Coble, vice president of Environmental Protection and Restoration for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, was so inspired by her own experience in Leadership Maryland, that she wanted her kids to have the same learning opportunity and exposure to diversity at a young age. So she registered them both for MLW, the division of Leadership Maryland that provides leadership development for middle and high school students.

“Leadership Maryland greatly expanded my appreciation for the state of Maryland,” she said. “You get exposed to things that you aren’t normally in your day-to-day life. My kids were at an age where I really wanted them to tap into their own skillset and I thought that MLW would help them do that. I was intrigued by a program that had a very creative approach to building leadership skills.”

In Leadership Maryland, Coble benefited not only from the increased knowledge and appreciation of the state, but also from being able to take an introspective look at her own leadership skills and talents. This was a benefit she hoped to see her children gain as well when she introduced them to MLW, and she was very happy with the result.

“They started to really see their own leadership strengths internally,” she said. “They felt confident in drawing on and applying those skills. Their confidence in themselves went way up.”

This continuum of leadership – the opportunity to provide these life-changing experiences to adults and grade-school students alike – is exactly what Leadership Maryland and MLW envisioned when the organizations merged in 2017.

Betsy Pakenas ’14 was also inspired to send her children to MLW after completing her Leadership Maryland class year.

“Leadership Maryland broadened my perspective of the state,” she said. “I went to places I’d never been to and I grew up in the state. There were places I saw and experiences I had that helped me appreciate the variety of opinions and cultures right here in our own state.”

Friend and classmate Jason Israel ’14 recommended that Pakenas send her children to MLW, and her 14 year-old daughter and 16 year-old son are now in their second summer of the program.

“I loved the thought of my children getting exposure to other students across the state the same way I did with Leadership Maryland,” she said. “Plus, it’s a camp about leadership. All of us could use a fine-tuning of our leadership skills.”

Pakenas saw the effects of the program in her daughter immediately. A month after returning home from the sleep-away camp, she applied her new leadership skills and initiative to start a Harry Potter Club at her high school. She also started an all-girl band for which she plays drums and books gigs around town. Her mother describes her now as “fearless in making things happen.” Her brother is looking to start a radio station at school.

Jason Israel’s recommendation of MLW was a passionate one, as he attended the program himself twice as a middle school student and returned as a staff member while he was a senior at the Naval Academy.

“At MLW, we truly believe that leadership skills can be developed through training and practice,” said Israel. “Because I’ve had that, it’s one of the reasons I went to the Naval Academy and one of the reasons I’ve sought leadership positions in my career.”

Israel described his experience at MLW as rewarding but demanding, with some of the workshops aligning with graduate school-level material.

“MLW challenges young people in a way that I don’t think they’re challenged in school,” he said. “That’s the big experience. MLW provides difficult problems and advanced workshops and makes everybody step up to levels that they don’t normally step up to. At the end of the week you feel like you’re a family. You’ve been through these trials together and you’ve had to work together. That’s the magic.”

Israel’s experience both attending and staffing the program pushed him to join the military, an experience that later affected his decision to join Leadership Maryland. His military career sent him around the world for over a decade, so he was very interested in the opportunity to become reacquainted with his home state.

Israel says Leadership Maryland presented him with endless opportunities and introduced him to incredible people who all work together to share and contribute to each other’s success.

“You learn just as much, if not more, from your classmates as you do from the actual program,” he said. “Going through the Leadership Maryland network, I found a lot of different opportunities. Alumni will often work to connect each other to opportunities. For example, I’m on the board right now for an organization run by one of my classmates.”

Now that the two programs have officially joined forces, Leadership Maryland and MLW look forward to sharing many more success stories from participants of all ages. Kim Coble offers the following message for parents considering MLW for their child:

“There is no doubt that MLW had a profound effect on my children. They gained self-confidence and were exposed to people and issues that they wouldn’t have been otherwise, especially as high school kids. Teenagers tend to be very focused on their immediate circle of friends and they don’t branch out a lot. Attending MLW exposes you to other kids from all over Maryland. You meet kids from all different backgrounds, lifestyles, religions, races, economic situations, and educations. MLW is simply a great experience for a kid and your kids should definitely attend.”

To learn more about Maryland Leadership Workshops, visit MLW.org. To learn more about Leadership Maryland, visit LeadershipMD.org.

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MLW offers Maryland Humanities a glimpse of “Reality”

When a delegate comes to a Maryland Leadership Workshops (MLW) summer camp program, they’re given more than toasted marshmallows and bug spray—they’re given an opportunity to incite positive change in our society. Delegates of the Senior High Workshop (SHW), which is open to any high school student entering grades 9 through 12, are tasked with a project called “Reality,” where they are challenged to work with a non-profit or advocate for a cause.

MLW Senior High Workshop delegates teamed up with Maryland Humanities to bring new creativity to the non-profit organization.

MLW Senior High Workshop delegates teamed up with Maryland Humanities to bring new creativity to the non-profit organization.

Alison Curry, an employee of MLW, and her group of two dozen SHW delegates, teamed up with Maryland Humanities, a non-profit that brings educational experiences in the humanities to people throughout the state. With a goal of expanding Maryland Humanities’ footprint, the delegates set forth putting together a three-part plan that they would present to the organization’s director of development, Aaron Heinsman.

“We approached it as ‘how can teenagers help a non-profit like Maryland Humanities,’” says Curry. “I got in contact with them and worked with Aaron Heinsman. We set up a Skype call so the kids could meet him. On the very first day they got to call him and ask him questions about Maryland Humanities. From there, it was their project and they came up with everything.”

Their three-part plan started with an idea to develop a smartphone app that could increase engagement for their events and programs as well as incorporate user-generated content. Part two focused on increasing the organization’s social media presence, specifically on Instagram, and they presented their ideas with a video that illustrated the effect it would have.

The final part, and the part that resonated most with Heinsman, was called “Humanities on Wheels.” The team came up with an idea to refurbish a school bus and drive it to other counties as a sort of traveling museum or library, to bring art and literature to places where access may not be so readily available.

A mock-up of the Humanities on Wheels repurposed school bus, created by the MLW delegates.

A mock-up of the Humanities on Wheels repurposed school bus, created by the MLW delegates.

“They had this idea of it being an inviting atmosphere for young people,” said Heinsman. “They could read and discuss literature or have spoken-word performances. It could be sort of a quasi-coffee house atmosphere where people could write or draw. I loved the idea. They even made an estimated budget of buying a bus, refurbishing it, maintaining it, and what it would cost to continue it over the years. There was a lot of creativity in the idea as well as discipline and rigor in how it could actually be feasible.”

Many of the ideas that the delegates came up with were ones that the employees of Maryland Humanities had already considered in the past, which was impressive to Heinsman as it showed higher-level thinking at such a young age. Ideas like incorporating crowdsourcing for funding and introducing more video content while expanding their social media presence are ideas that the non-profit organization may put into action in the near future. Overall, Heinsman was very impressed by the work the delegates did in the program and by the program itself.

“Any time I have an experience like this where I interact with a group of young people who are engaging with ideas and strategies, it reminds me that I can be positive about our future,” said Heinsman.

Being able to apply creativity and strategy in a way that could actually affect change in society is an opportunity that few students see in high school. Programs like MLW give young people that chance and encourages them to be leaders, thinkers, and friends.

“Maryland Leadership Workshops empowers people in a way that I haven’t seen in other arenas,” said Curry. “There’s no other chance you’re going to have to be surrounded by peers and staff, to grow, to take risks, and to challenge yourself. That uniqueness, the skills it gives the delegates, the tools they come away with, that opportunity for growth, you won’t get it anywhere else.”

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Wendesday/Thursday Update!

It was another beautiful day on campus! Delegates finished Round 2 of workshops (see descriptions of Creative Problem Solving and GroupME from the previous post) and began Round 3:

Public Speaking: Delegates identified and practiced effective public speaking strategies.

Diversity: Delegates explored and identified different types of diversity, learned about informational diversity and its impact on cultural competency, and utilized courageous conversations as a tool to raise the level of cultural competency.

Advocacy: Delegates explored the difference between equity and equality, learned the importance of advocating with perspective, developed and advocacy plan, and reflected on the significance of advocacy.

Delegates continued to make progress in their tuning groups and in their region meetings. and Reality projects are close to completion.

Wednesday night’s activity was an MLW favorite – Messy Games Night! On Thursday, we were treated to a talent show with amazing performances from our delegates including poetry, music, dance, and more.

Friday will entail the final rotation of Round 3 workshops plus the culmination of the Reality projects. Of  course, everyone is looking forward to tonight’s dance!

On Saturday, we look forward to seeing you all at 10:45am for the closing ceremony in Gibson Center for the Arts, where check-in took place. Enter the college at Greenwood Ave. and proceed to the parking lot behind Gibson (click here for campus map). REMINDER: The theater where the closing ceremony will take place only seats 400, so once it’s full people will be seated in another theater upstairs where the ceremony will be simulcast.

MLW Merchandise will be for sale at check-out. Hats are $15, water bottles and drawstring bags are $10, and car magnets are $5. Check and cash only, please.

See you all Saturday!

 

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Senior High Is In The House!

Here we are at the end of our first full day! After parents left yesterday, delegates got a tour of the campus and played ice-breaking games with their teams.  Then they had their first workshop, “What Is Leadership?” where they explored what leadership is and how it applies to them. They also identified leaders in their lives and discussed characteristics of good leadership.

After dinner in the dining hall, delegates were treated to a decades-old MLW tradition called Visions, a candle-light ceremony held outdoors after dark. Delegates sat in silence while staff members, one at a time, recited a poem or song lyrics that has meaning to them personally. This provided delegates an opportunity to learn a little more about their staffers, and it was a nice way to settle down after a very active day.

This morning after breakfast, delegates enjoyed their very first Morning Sing of the week with an old favorite, Baby Shark! The purpose of Morning Sing is to get delegates energized and excited first thing in the morning before we start our formal activities of the day.

Today was the beginning of Workshops Round One:
  • Self Awareness: Delegates explore how their upbringing and environment have contributed to what they believe and value in the world.

  • Basics of Communication: Delegate gain an appreciation and experience with different contexts and forms of communication to maximize the effect and appeal of their message.

  • SMART Decisions: Delegates create SMART goals that help to maximize their efforts towards goals, big and small.  They also discussed how values influence the decisions we all make daily and over the years.

After lunch, delegates met with their Regions for the first time. They were introduced to all the delegates at the camp from their county/region. They played get-to-know games to begin with then shared what they considered various strengths of their county or region. This committee will, by the end of the week, identify issues that impact their region and work towards creating solutions.

Delegates then spent time with their teams working on their REALITY project. Each group has a different project to work on either in partnership with a non profit or advocating for a cause.

Prior to dinner, we held our first seminar called Finding Your “Hype.”  In this seminar, delegates were encouraged to think about what is important to them, what energizes them, and how to put that energy into their own communities for the better.

After dinner, delegates got to blow of steam at our Monday Night Activity where they played fun games  – Steal the Bacon, Lava, and an MLW favorite – SPOONS! Staff took this time to observe how delegates work, play, and solve problems together.

Next was what typically turns out to be everyone’s favorite activity every day – Tuning –  where delegates worked in small groups with out staff to set their S.M.A.R.T. goals for the week, leading to the creation of stretch goals for when they get home.

One last group meeting of get-to-know games rounded out the evening. More tomorrow!

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New Pictures!

Here are some photos of yesterday and today. Stay tuned for our next update!

The Ozians get to know each other better by playing Tell the Truth.

The Ozians get to know each other better by playing Tell the Truth.

The Lost Delegates come up with their own definition of Diversity.

The Lost Delegates come up with their own definition of Diversity.

The Athleaders learn about Advocacy - what it is, why it's important in our daily lives, and what it means as a part of our leadership toolbox.

The Jedis learn about Advocacy – what it is, why it’s important in our daily lives, and what it means as a part of our leadership toolbox.

Athleaders do an activity to learn how our ideas connect us.

Athleaders do an activity to learn how our ideas connect us.

 

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Monday/Tuesday Wrap Up!

First of all, here are the team pictures!

The Ozians

The Ozians

The Lost Delegates

The Lost Delegates

The Athleaders

The Athleaders

The Jedis

The Jedis

This morning, delegates had Round Two of yesterday’s workshops – Motivation & Empowerment, Self Awareness & Identity, and Leadership 101. See previous post for content details.

This afternoon, a third workshop was added to the schedule – Communication and Professionalism. Delegates learned the difference between verbal and non verbal communication, and how to utilize professionalism to gain respect in different contexts.

The weather stayed nice so we had outdoor recreation after dinner. Frisbee, football, hoola hooping, bubble-blowing, and other activities allowed delegates to take a break from the day’s structured activity.

In Tuning, delegates worked toward setting their S.M.A.R.T. goals for the week, leading to the creation of stretch goals for when they get home.

Our evening activity was a favorite – the Tuesday Night Dance! A game room was also set up for those who didn’t want to shake a leg.

Coming up tomorrow, the first day of Round Two workshops which will include Pressure & Decision Making; Leadership, Power, & Privilege; and Diversity.

 

 

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MSEL’s Great Start!

MSEL Indoor Rec - DANCE PARTY!

During Indoor Recreation – DANCE PARTY!

Hello MSEL families!

We’ve had a busy first 30 hours! We kicked off the program with a tour of the campus and then ice-breaking games so the delegates can get to know each other better. Our first formal activity was “Jump-Off,” which consisted of problem-solving games designed specifically for the staff to observe delegates’ different leadership abilities so they can best select their “Tuning Partners” – which are their mentoring pairs for the rest of the week.

After dinner, delegates attended their first workshop, “What Is Leadership?” which focused on different leadership styles, what leadership means to our delegates, and how it translates to their everyday lives.

Following that, delegates were treated to a decades-old MLW tradition called Visions, a candle-light ceremony held outdoors after dark. Delegates sat in silence while staff members, one at a time, recited a poem or song lyrics that has meaning to them personally. This provided delegates an opportunity to learn a little more about their staffers, and it was a nice way to settle down after a very active day.

This morning, delegates experienced the first Morning Sing of the week. Little Bunny Foo Foo was followed by our Announcements song. At the end of the week, ask your child what their favorite Morning Sing song is!

The first round of workshops began this morning, and they were divided by teams:

The Lost Delegates: Motivation and Empowerment with Ed and Cece

Delegates defined motivation and empowerment, and distinguished between the two. they discussed various types of motivation and discovered ways to empower others. They analyzed the meaning of power and influence as they relate to motivation and empowerment. Finally, they understood how to apply motivation and empowerment within the context of their daily lives.

Athleaders: Self Awareness and Identity

Delegates defined self awareness and determined the importance of having it. They defined identity, determined the strengths they each possess, and explored the importance of self awareness as a leader.

The Ozians: Leadership 101 with Ciara and Jasmine

Delegates identified the steps of planning a project using S.M.A.R.T goals. They defined and practiced the concepts of contingency planning, troubleshooting, prioritization, and revision. They explored the roles individuals play in groups. They discussed the steps to effectively plan a project while moving a team through the stages of group development. Finally, delegates developed evaluation skills to measure a project’s success.

The Jedis: Group Meeting

instead of a workshop, The Jedi’s had their Group Meeting which is a time for games  purposely designed for them to bond deeply and quickly with their teammates. We want them to go home with 20 new best friends!

After workshops, delegates had lunch and then attended their committees, where they are able to immediately put into practice the skills learned in their morning workshops:

Variety Show: Plans and implements the Variety Show that will take place on Thursday evening.

Closing Ceremony: Plans and implements the Closing Ceremony that will take place Saturday morning.

Community Service: Constructs a 30-minute community service project that all delegates can participate in on Friday morning.

Newsletter: Creates an online newsletter of each day’s activities.

Awareness: Selects an in issue important to them and their peers, develops an awareness campaign to engage other delegates throughout the week, and hopefully be something for continued advocacy upon return to home and school communities.

Next, delegates went with their tuning partners for an hour of goal-setting and mentoring. Our recreation time had to be moved indoors due to an approaching storm, but luckily that indoor space is attached to the dining hall so we still made it to dinner on time regardless of the weather outside.

More to come tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday and Thursday Wrap Up

We can’t believe the week is almost over already!

ALS Workshops:

Wednesday – Empathy: Delegates learned the importance of being able to see the world as others see it. Through different activities, each person developed an understanding of the influences that shaped another’s’ perspective of the world.

Thursday – Impact: Delegates analyzed their spheres of influence from a personal level all the way up to a societal institutions and mapped out their connections to each in order to define their own impact points.

ALS delegates keyed up after their evening activity of a dance party.

ALS delegates keyed up after their evening activity of a dance party.

Bridge Workshops:

Wednesday – Collaborative Leadership: Delegates defined collaboration and determined its purposes. They developed an awareness of their own collaboration style as well as that of others. Finally, they engaged in simulated activities to use different methods of collaboration.

Thursday – Societal Movements: Delegates explored social movements throughout history and determined the mission and structure of each. They discovered connections between movements of the past and current issues.

Staff entertains the delegates by recreating a scene from the musical Hamilton.

Staff entertains the delegates by recreating a scene from the musical Hamilton.

Journey Workshops

Wednesday – Communication and Courageous Conversations: Delegates explored how to effectively communicate both in person and online, developed a list of strategies to communicate with people with opposite opinions, discussed the importance of sensitivity and empathy in difficult conversations; practiced giving feedback, and practiced methods of appropriate confrontations.

Diversity: Delegates defined and examined diversity and its various aspects, defined intersectionality and the challenges associated with it for women, identified examples of stereotypes and prejudice and recognized how they relate to privilege, and brainstormed ways to leverage differences and increase their own understanding of others.

Thursday – Self and Society: Delegates evaluated the role that social media plays in their perceptions of themselves and others, discussed acceptance and inclusion vs. judgement and exclusion among young women, and practices strategies for finding their authentic selves.

Journey girls and staff relax in the evening by painting each other's nails.

Journey girls and staff relax in the evening by painting each other’s nails.

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Tuesday Update

All three programs are in full swing!

  1. ALS

Yesterday’s workshop was GRIT, with Ben and Jessica. Their “stick-to-it-tiveness” was tested as they explored the common pitfalls of challenging situations, learned and practiced strategies to enhance their own grit, and explored the power of having grit. “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things. Not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” – JFK

Most of the afternoon was spent on their project with Baltimore Corps. Games, tuning, and rec time also took place. The evening activity was a continuation of the “grit” theme – they played and Escape Room game.

2. Bridge

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Delegates began with a workshop on Perspective, facilitated by Michael Hagan. Delegates examined gaps in perspective within their own group, considered perspectives beyond those held by their group, analyzed factors that widen perspective gaps, and developed strategies to bridge those gaps.

Their second workshop was Diversity, with Youcef and Libby. Delegates identified barriers to understanding diversity, distinguished between equality and equity, and examined the sources of privilege. Finally, they defined and explored intersectionality and how it impacts their own group.

Much of the afternoon was spent working on their practicum project. Games, tuning, and recreation time also took place. The evening activity was games facilitated by office staffer Courtney.

3. Journey

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The journey girls had a big day! They took a field trip to Echo Hill Outdoor School where they accomplished outdoor obstacle courses and high ropes activities as team building and self-esteem building activities.

There was still time for Tuning and some games once they got back to Washington College. The evening activity was all about Inner and Outer Beauty, as delegates explored what positive traits, inside and out, each of them possess.

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Sunday and Monday Update!

Today is our first full day of programming for MLW Summer 2017! Our three smaller programs, Advanced Leadership Seminar (ALS), Bridge, and Journey are in full swing and we’ve never seen groups bond so quickly! Fast friendships have already been made.

SUNDAY

After saying good-by to family , delegates went on a tour of campus with their staff members, ended up in their creatively decorated group rooms, and played ice-breaker games. Each program then had their first round of workshops:

ALS Public Speaking Delegates reviewed effective strategies for delivering speeches as well as managing meetings and other interactive spaces. they also reflected on their personal challenges with public speaking and identified opportunities throughout the week where they could practice and provide one another with feedback to improve their skills. 170710_111607_9

Pictured above – ALS Delegates at Morning Sing

BridgeSelf, Expression, and Identity with Michael and Steph. Delegates identified components of self and identity, recognized various modes of self-expression, related authenticity to self and identity, and discussed obstacles to authentic self-expression and their sources.

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Pictured above – Bridge delegates in their first workshop

Journey What Does It Mean To Be A Female Leader? with Alison. Delegates examined the characteristics of leaders that they know and know of, recognized the development of women’s social and political rights throughout American History, identified challenges that women may face when taking on leadership roles, and discussed possible strategies to overcome the adversity that women face.

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Pictured above – Journey delegates in their third workshop

Bridge and ALS delegates were introduced to their practicum concept:

ALS – Delegates are partnering with Baltimore Corps, a social impact organization focused on a citywide approach to equity and racial justice.  ALS delegates will be investigating four challenges currently facing Baltimore and will design integrated solutions to these issues. They will then make recommendations for entities like the City Council and the Board of Education.

Bridge – Delegates are being tasked with creating an event that tells the story of their generation using creative self-expression. They will be asked to think about the biggest challenges facing their generation, what events have defined them, what issues/causes are important to their peer group, and more.

Our evening activity is an MLW “first night” tradition called Visions. Staff share a poem, song lyric, or other quote that is meaningful to them personally and also serves as a way for the delegates to learn more about them.

MONDAY

ALS

  • Workshop – SPARKS with Jessica and Nia: Delegates explored what gives them their “spark” – joy, energy, purpose, and direction. They identified what obstacles can dampen their spark, and what best nourishes it.
  • Evening Activity – our version of “Minute to Win It” games.
  • Small group coaching (what we call “Tuning”), team building activities, and more time spent on Practicum filled the rest of the day.

Bridge

  • Workshop – The Power of a Platform with Breana and Tres: Delegates learned about the benefits of an online platform, learned how to identify media bias, and developed online leadership and communication skills
  • Evening Activity – staff members shared their talents via mini-workshops on playing the drums, yoga, and dance.
  • Small group coaching (what we call “Tuning”), team building activities, and more time spent on Practicum filled the rest of the day.

Journey

  • Workshop One: Fundamentals of Leadership with Emily – Delegates created a list of skills that a leaders needs to be successful, recognized the importance of teamwork, identified the stages of group development, and practiced taking on different leadership roles.
  • Workshop Two: Building Healthy Relationships with Hemali and Oyin – Delegates learned about and evaluated what is and is not considered a healthy relationship, analyzed how our own action can affect others, and discussed how to maintain a relationship with others without compromising one’s own identity.
  • Introduction of Community Project – Delegates will learn about philanthropy, volunteering, the roles of non profit organizations in Howard County – specifically the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County – and select women leaders deserving of awards for their contributions to their community.
  • Evening activity – Zumba!
  • Small group coaching (what we call “Tuning) and team building activities rounded out the rest of the day.
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Registered for MLW 2017? Get your Welcome Packet Here!

We’re so excited for MLW 2017 which is right around the corner! If you’ve registered for one of our programs, you can download your Welcome Packet below. It contains a welcome letter from your program directors, check-in details, packing list, campus map, and much more!

Bridge Welcome Packet

Journey Welcome Packet

MSEL Welcome Packet

SHW Welcome Packet

ALS Welcome Packet – available next week

Senior High Tuesday Update

Last night’s rain gave way to a cool breeze welcomed by all. Delegates finished Round 1 Workshops and started Round 2 Workshops.

Some highlights of the day:

In Creative Problem Solving, delegates debunked the myth that only some people are creative and learned how to navigate the creative process as leaders.

In GroupME (Group Dynamics, Motivation and Empowerment), delegates discussed the dynamics of working with groups, how to utilize their strengths to move through he stages of group development (performed via rap cypher!) and determined ways to use motivation and empowerment to advance causes in their communities.

In committees (broken down by geographic region), delegates continued to forge bonds and discuss issues facing their shared communities. Many of our delegates hold school and regional leadership positions so these meetings are an excellent opportunity to build  strategic partnerships and prepare for advocacy back home.

During group meetings, delegates had the opportunity to attend different “club” meetings during their unstructured time. During today’s session, staff member Hunter led delegates through Improv games and activities to learn how to react with spontaneity and humor.

In the evening, delegates experienced Tuesday Night Activity, or TuNA as it has been dubbed, an interactive series of games meant to spark ways of thinking that aren’t as commonly practiced. Activities included logic puzzles, guessing games and even a dance battle!

At the end of the night, delegates reflected on their day during hall meeting. Round 2 Workshops will be in full swing tomorrow and delegates will start preparing for their end of week presentations in REALITY.

Hear From the Delegates Themselves

In lieu of our regular update, we present to you a website that the Newsletter committee created to share with you what their week has been like. Visit msel2017.weebly.com to read all about it!

Don’t forget that the Closing Ceremony will take place starting at 10:30am at the Gibson Center for the Arts, which is where check-in took place. Delegates will be dismissed following the ceremony at approximately 11:15. Don’t forget to return your key! It’s a $35 charge if you forget.

We can wait to see you tomorrow and show you what we’ve learned!

Thursday Update

Another beautiful (and humid) day in Chestertown! Thursday saw the end of Round 2 Workshops and the continuation of Mix and committees. As we near the end of our week together, delegates are beginning to put the final touches on their products and presentations.

Some highlights of the day:

In the Pressure and Decision Making workshop facilitated by Maggie and Rob, members of The Ozians searched for clues hidden around the room. However, there was a catch – certain delegates were limited by requirements such as “You can’t use your hands!” or “Keep your eyes closed” or “Stay seated.” Their fellow teammates had to effectively communicate and troubleshoot to help them navigate the room.  Activities like these help our delegates learn the value of effective communication and how to navigate challenges in a group setting.

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During recreation, delegates took a few minutes to decompress and connect with friends. Even though it may seem like a small part of the day, many delegates take this time to play games, interact with delegates from other groups and create new bonds through things like football , hula hooping and sketching.

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As is tradition, delegates spent Thursday night at the annual Variety Show. Delegates auditioned and performed their unique talents in front of the entire program. For many delegates, this was their first time standing in front of a large group. Acts included dance routines, piano solos and even a song performed on a ukulele!

With our last full day on the horizon, delegates will be completing their Mix sessions, the program-wide community service event and attending the ever popular Friday night dance.

MSEL Wednesday Update

Wednesday was a beautiful day and the start of Round 2 Workshops! Delegates took part in two of the following:

Advocacy: Delegates explore various methods of advocating, understand advocacy’s connection to communication and determine ideal roles and settings in which to advocate for a cause.

Diversity: Delegates address the differences between stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination and examine the roles they play in society.

Leadership, Power and Privilege: Delegates discuss the kinds of privilege they possess, determine the effects of privilege on the process of gaining power and reflect on how power and privilege impact their leadership.

Pressure and Decision Making: Delegates share pressures faced by today’s middle schoolers, brainstorm strategies to effective combat pressure and analyze how these strategies make a leader more effective.

After lunch, delegates enjoyed sports and board games during recreation followed by their second Mix Session of the week. During this time, delegates use the skills they’ve gained in workshops to address a challenge in a simulated project. (ex: The Athleaders have been charged with designing an inclusive Olympiad that accommodates individuals with physical or intellectual disabilities.) The sessions often start with competing ideas and a bit of confusion, but staff observe and debrief with delegates to help them determine ways to adjust their process to work effectively towards their goals.

Following Mix, delegates enjoyed Tuning and continued to make progress on their S.M.A.R.T. goals for the week. They often get feedback from their tuning group to help them identify opportunities to work towards their goal while on site.

In committees, delegates worked on their individual projects to begin preparing for their end-of-week products. For example, the Variety Show and Closing Ceremony are  all completely planned by delegates and offer a unique and fun experience that reflects the personality of this year’s delegate class.

After dinner and a round of group games, delegates got to enjoy Messy Games Night! Delegates played competition games with all kinds of messy supplies and by the end of the night, most were sporting a shaving cream beard or face mask. And of course, what Messy Games Night would be complete without a water balloon fight?! Needless to say, everyone was asked to shower tonight. :)

Delegates ended the night with a hall meeting to wind down and reflect on the day. On deck for Thursday: the second half of Round 2 Workshops,  Mix Session 3 and the Variety Show!

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