Monthly Archives: July 2016

Thursday Wrap-Up

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Yesterday we finished the second round of workshops! We highlighted Diversity and Public Speaking and Facilitation yesterday, and here’s what we did in Advocacy!

Advocacy: Delegates will define advocacy and understand the importance of being a student advocate, identify techniques for advocating effectively, explore the different roles of motivation and empowerment as tools for advocacy, understand the components of an Advocacy Strategy Plan and analyze their order, and practice advocating for a cause or issue by creating an Advocacy Strategy plan.

Committees are well on their way to completing their tasks. In particular, the Talent Show committee knocked it out of the park by presenting an amazing showcase with all kinds of talents!

In REALITY, The Conductors presented their project on arts funding to Eliot Pfanstiehl and Monica Jeffries from Strathmore, a world-class music and arts center in Montgomery County. All other groups finalized last details as their presentations are today. And in group meeting, we continued the fun and games that forge bonds among the delegates – bonds that will last far beyond Saturday.

We’ll see you all tomorrow at Gibson Center for the Arts – the same building where check-in took place. The closing ceremony is from 10:45-11:30am, and dismissal will be immediately following.

Wednesday Wrap-Up


Round Two of workshops started today! Here’s some of the content that will be covered in Round Two:

Diversity: Delegates will identify the aspects of cultural identity, understand and analyze perceptions of different individuals and their cultural identities, determine the benefits of diversity and how these benefits are essential to leadership, and examine barriers to cultural competency and how to break through them.

Public Speaking and Facilitation: Delegates will identify personal strengths and challenges with public speaking, compare and contrast effective public speaking strategies, define facilitation and identify its importance within group interaction, and distinguish between contexts for public speaking and facilitation

The seminar prior to dinner was on Courageous Conversations. As leaders, it’s important to be able to work with people from backgrounds different than our own. Knowing how to navigate those difficult conversations that are sometimes necessary for us to recognize and realize our differences is an important skill for leaders of today to master.

We are continuing to work together in Committees (where we tend to be pretty product-focused) and in REALITY (which is sometimes a bit more process-focused), and we’re playing lots of games. Tonight we had even more group meeting time, which many teams spent outside playing Messy Games! We can’t believe the week is already halfway over. We’ve been working (and playing) hard, and it’s going by so quickly.

Tuesday Wrap-Up


As of yesterday afternoon, all delegates have completed Round One of workshops. Yesterday we highlighted the objectives of Group Dynamics and Decision Making. The third workshop in the round was Self Awareness:

Self Awareness: Delegates identified components of their strengths, values, motivations, and relationships and determined why it’s important to be aware of them. They built a list of their own values, needs, leadership experiences, goals, strengths, challenges, and interests and explored the relationship between self-awareness and leadership. At the end of the week, ask your child what his or her DISC assessment type is, and what his or her values are.

Committees met again, as they will every day. See yesterday’s post for details about workshop content and committee titles. Delegates also had a mini workshop on Project Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation. They continued to work on their projects in REALITY, talked about their progress on their goals in Tuning, and played group games and team bonding activities in Group Meeting. Ask your child what his/her favorite group game is!


Today was our first full day together, and it was indeed full! We started our first round of workshops, which include the following content:

Decision Making: Delegates distinguished between individual and group decisions, identified the steps of the decision making model, worked to understand the relationship between values and decision making, and compared and contrasted decision making styles.

Group Dynamics: Delegates learned the individual stages of the Group Interaction Model, compared and contrasted various group roles and their contributions to the group’s performance, differentiated between different types of groups, and analyzed group dynamics in specific contexts. At the end of the week, ask your child which group role he or she most naturally falls into.

After lunch, committees met for the first time, tasked to plan the following program components or activities:
Field Day
Program Evaluation
Keep In Touch
Closing Ceremony
Friday Dance
Community ID

Because of the heat, we postponed picture day until Wednesday, when it’s supposed to cool down to a balmy 92 degrees. Ahhh…summer in Maryland!

Just before dinner, delegates went to their first REALITY session, which is when they have an opportunity to work on a rea-lifel project but also practice their new leadership skills in a safe environment.

Last night’s activity was a games night in the indoor field house. Delegates got to have fun, burn off some steam, and meet other delegates outside of their group. We top the day of with a fire safety drill, and then finally lights out.

SHW First Day!

What a great kickoff to our week together! After the parents left, delegates were taken around campus to orient them to all the buildings where activities will take place throughout the week.  They then got to see their group rooms decorated to fit their teams, and they played games to start getting to know their teammates. The Senior High teams this year are Marvel, State of Mind (about the movie “Inside Out”), The Conductors, Tricky, SPLAT!, Hollywood, and NOLA.

Before dinner we had a “Community Meeting” where delegates got to hear from Program Directors Emily Petersen and Grace Chao, meet all the staff members, and hear from Executive Director Anita Anderson. After that, they broke into their “Tuning Groups,” which is when they get they get the opportunity for coaching in small groups with a staff member.

Then delegates participated in their first workshop. During “What is Leadership?”  they discovered and discussed the many different definitions of leadership. They explored how the meaning or application of leadership can differ from person to person and situation to situation. In the end, each team was tasked with coming up with their own definition of leadership to which they will refer the rest of the week.

The last formal activity of the evening is a special MLW tradition called “Visions.” This is a time where staff members share a quote, song, story, or other meaningful experience with the entire group in order for delegates to get to know them a on a deeper level. At the end of the week, ask your child his/her favorite vision that was shared!

The day ended, as they all will, with a hall meeting and then lights out. See you tomorrow!

Thursday Wrap-Up!

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This morning delegates completed their Round Two workshops. We highlighted two of the four workshops yesterday, and here are the other two

  • Diversity, taught by Scott Jones and Maggie Chen

  • Evolution of Leadership, taught by Olivia Keithley and Pearson Benson:

These were the last workshops of the week! Ask your child what his/her favorite Round Two workshop was! Now, while delegates are working in their Committees and in their MIX groups, they have a full set of leadership skills and tools at their disposal.

The Variety Show Committee knocked it out of the park tonight as delegates participated in a phenomenal talent show that encompassed everything from dance and music to comedy and origami. The rest of the Committees are making great headway and most have completed their plans.

We can’t believe tomorrow is our last full day! We look forward to seeing you at 10:30 on Saturday for the Closing Ceremony in Gibson Center for the Arts (the same building where Check-In took place).

Wednesday Wrap-Up!

Pressure and decision making objectivesWorking together


We can’t believe our week is half over already! Today we started Round Two of workshops: Advocacy, Pressure and Decision Making; Diversity; and Evolution of Leadership.

Highlights of two of our Round Two workshops:

  • Advocacy, taught by Abby Sweeney and Grant Kilduff: delegates worked to define and understand passion as well as what it means to be passionate, define advocacy and examine topics most commonly advocated for, analyze the relationship between advocacy and passion, identify, compare, and contrast various methods of proper advocacy in different situations, and acknowledge different personalities and develop ways to incorporate them when advocating.  Ask your child what he or she wants to advocate for!

  • Pressure and Decision Making, taught by Ciara Albrittain and Lexi Pumphrey: delegates worked to identify sources of pressure, list pressures faced in everyday life by middle school students, brainstorm and discuss various strategies that would be effective in dealing with different kinds of pressure, create and apply a personal decision-making model, and analyze how strategies for handling leadership can make a leader more effective. Ask your child about his or her very own decision-making model!

Delegates also attended their second MIX and continued to work in Committees. They played games in group meeting and got some down time during recreation.

Tonight’s activity: Messy Games – an MLW favorite!!!

Tuesday Wrap-Up!

Today we finished up Round One workshops! Here are summaries of the other two Round One workshops. Ask your child what his/her favorite Round One workshop was!

  • Ethics and Values, taught by Basirah Rahim and Danny Rivas: delegates worked to define and differentiate Ethics and Values, identify the sources of both, and discover how their ethics and values guide decision-making.

  • Social Media and You!, taught by Maura Vananzo and DaShawn Murry: delegates defined social media, identified various avenues of social media, determined the purpose of each form of social media, discussed ways to use it safely, understand how their social media accounts are extensions of themselves, and create a leadership blog

Lunch followed the morning workshops, and then rec time.

Now that the delegates have four workshops behind them, it was time for them to put their new leadership skills to work. In a program component we call “MIX,” they’re presented with simulated “real world” projects (such as “Develop a new cartoon. Create the characters, the plot and then plan your release date!”) that test their group development skills and give them a chance to practice all of the skills they’re learning.

The rest of the day was spent working in their Committees, playing games in their group rooms, and working with their Checkpoint staffer. Tonight’s activity: the first dance of the week! We also set up a room with board games for those who weren’t interested in shaking a leg.

Tomorrow starts a new round of workshops, so stay tuned!

MSEL Monday Wrap-Up!

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This morning we started workshops! Our Round One workshops are Self Awareness and Identity, Motivation and Empowerment, Ethics and Values, and Social Media and You! Delegates will rotate through round one today and tomorrow. Ask your child which workshops he/she attended today!

Summaries of two of our Round One workshops:

  • Self Awareness and Identity, taught by Michael Hagan and Phoenix Do: delegates worked to understand the importance of self awareness and how it’s developed, differentiate between self and identity, determine the character traits they possess, identify the main ways by which others understand them, and understand the importance of authentic identity in leadership and relationships

  • Motivation and Empowerment, taught by Tres McMichael and Sandie Goldstein: delegates worked to define motivation and empowerment, discuss various types of motivation, discover ways to empower others, and analyze the meaning of power and influence

After lunch we took pictures, so stay tuned for those! After pictures, delegates played games in their groups, and then had Checkpoint with their staffers. Checkpoint is a time when small groups of delegates meet with staffers and work on personal goal setting and small group bonding. They play games, process through the workshop content, and support one another as they work towards their goals.

We also had our first Committee meetings today. Committees are yet another opportunity for delegates to implement the skills they’re learning in a safe space. They participate in various week-long MLW-based projects and get to know delegates outside of their button group. This year’s Committees are Community Service, Awareness and Empowerment, Variety Show, Closing Ceremony, and Newsletter/Weekbook. Ask your child what his/her Committee’s goal is!

Our activity for the evening was Monday Night Frolic, where delegates circled through various games facilitated by our staffers. These games give them an opportunity to decompress after a long first day and to get to know each other better through team building. Ask your child what his/her favorite game was!

Once we got back to the dorms, we had our weekly fire drill so we could practice our emergency procedures. Everyone certainly slept well tonight after such a busy day!

What Is MSEL Up To Already?

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It was a wonderful first day at MSEL!

After the parents left, delegates were taken around campus to orient them to all the buildings where activities will take place throughout the week. They then got to see their group rooms decorated to fit their teams, and they played games to start getting to know their teammates. The teams this year are Adventure is Out There! (based on the movie Up), Tank Gang (based on the movie Finding Dory), Castaways, Justice League, and Mad Hatters.

Off to dinner! The “Green Team” (staff members who walk around and make sure everyone is making healthy choices) challenged each delegate to drink a glass of water first thing, and to eat something green.

This evening, delegates participated in their first workshop. During “What is Leadership?” they defined and differentiated between skills and traits. They worked to understand the differences between power and influence and determined how leadership has evolved throughout the centuries. Finally, they brainstormed a group definition of leadership and made models of the types of leaders they want to be! Ask your child what their group’s definition of leadership is!

This evening’s activity, JUMP OFF, consisted of silly outdoor games such as Scramble, Acid River, and Clothes Pin Tag. Delegates got to enjoy the beautiful weather, have fun, and run around a little. Hopefully everyone’s ready for a good night’s sleep!

Our next blog post will be Tuesday morning. Stay tuned!