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!

Friday wrap-up!

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Our last full day onsite was a little bit emotional. We’re always sad when the week comes to a close, but we’re also so excited for the delegates to take what they’ve learned back to their communities.

Journey started the day with their final workshop, Power and Purpose, taught by staffers Diane D’Costa and Devan Ogburn. They defined power and differentiated between the different types of power as well as learning about the relationship between gender and power. They began developing a personal sense of purpose and determined how their individual and collective power can be used to further that purpose. Ask your daughter about the different types of power and what her personal purpose is! It was a fantastic final workshop.

After debriefing their presentation to the Women’s Giving Circle, the girls had a wonderful time playing games like Starstruck and MLW Madness. Ask your daughter to show you her best fierce Beyonce pose! Guest facilitator Tyson Glover then facilitated a seminar on Masculinity, to give the girls a larger context for their new feminism knowledge. They acted as marketing executives and looked at portrayals of masculinity in advertising and the media. It was a fascinating way for the girls to wrap up the Journey curriculum.

In the morning, ALS delegates attended their final workshop, led by director Mehran Hossaini. Most of the day, however, was focused on the Practicum and their upcoming presentation. If you weren’t able to tune into the live stream, be sure to ask your child what his/her role in the presentation was. It went very smoothly and it was amazing to see how far the delegates came in just one week together. This was an outstanding class of ALS delegates and we cannot wait to see what changes they create in their communities!

We hope all our delegates will stay in touch with one another and with their staffers. Keep us updated on all of the incredible things you’re doing!

Wednesday and Thursday Wrap-Up!

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Wednesday and Thursday onsite are always busy. Here are a few highlights for both programs!

ALS had two workshops on Wednesday. Staffer Danny Gonzalez led Relationship Optimization, followed by Pathways with staffer Libby Norford and former ALS director Stephanie Barnes. In Pathways delegates identified their sources of motivation and linked motivation to intention and telos/purpose. Ask your child what his/her telos is!They also played group games and continued to work diligently on their practicum project.

On Thursday, delegates had a workshop and a seminar. Staffer Bryana “Fergie” Ferguson and former ALS staffer Bryan Coble led The Art of Finesse, where delegates learned to deal with unpredictability. Former ALS staffer Jason Israel and guest facilitator Teague Hopkins then led Stress Testing Your Teamwork, where delegates played Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, a cooperative video game. Learn more at: Ask your child what he/she learned about working in groups under pressure! At night delegates put on a showcase of their talents.

Journey girls went to a Diversity workshop on Wednesday morning. Staffers Diane D’Costa and Reva Alperson introduced the idea of intersectionality and had delegates connect the concept of feminism to their personal experiences. They explored the diversity of their group and how they experience their identities. The girls worked on their Capstone as well as starting a Community Project, where they chose five women from Howard County to honor with awards. Ask your daughter which award she worked on!

Thursday started out with a Gender Dynamics workshop, led by staffers Alexya Brown and Reva Alperson. The girls learned about group roles, sexism, and using reactions to reduce conflict. In the evening the Women’s Giving Circle visited campus to see the girls present their Capstone and Community Projects. They did a fantastic job presenting their hard work! Ask your daughter about the Capstone project and the presentation! They then enjoyed dinner with the representatives of the Women’s Giving Circle before putting on a Talent/Fashion Show.

We can’t believe tomorrow is our last full day–the week is going by so quickly!

Stay tuned!

Stay tuned for a special Wednesday/Thursday double edition of our blog! We’ll report on Wednesday’s “Falent” show by the Journey girls (Falent = Fashion + Talent) as well as “War Night” for ALS.

Tuesday at ALS and Journey


What an exciting day for both of our programs!

The Journey girls took a field trip to Echo Hill Outdoor School for a full day of group development and confidence building. Girls got to climb the wall, zip line, and ride on the giant swing! They belayed, spotted, and supported one another while challenging themselves. Learn more at

When the girls got back, it was time for tuning. Tuning 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. Ask your daughter which tuning group she is in! (AKA which tuning group is the best!)

The girls attended a seminar on Fear, Failure, and Resiliency after dinner. Led by former MSEL director Nia Calhoun, the girls talked about adaptability and practiced resiliency before moving into Capstone time.

ALS delegates traveled to DC to visit the National Youth Baseball Academy, the organization they are partnering with for their Practicum project. The visit was a huge success. Delegates met with Zack Jamison, Manager of Curriculum and Instruction at the National Youth Baseball Academy and former ALS and SHW director! They also had a panel discussion with students in the program and ate lunch with summer participants. Their experience at the program is going to be instrumental as they move forward with planning their Practicum project. Ask your child what his/her favorite part of the trip was!

After their Academy site visit, it was time for tuning. Tuning 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. Ask your child about his/her tuning partner!

After dinner, ALS Staffer and MLW Program Committee Chair Sterling Grimes led the delegates through a seminar on Interviewing and Branding, two very important topics for young leaders in high school. It was a full day for both programs!

First Full Day of MLW 2016!

ALS 7-11  Journey 7-11Young leaders from across the state of Maryland arrived at Washington College yesterday to participate in a week of fun, learning, and leadership. The MLW staff have been developing the programs for months and they could barely contain their excitement as they finally saw their delegates in person during registration.

Moments after their parents left, delegates began learning one another’s names and playing silly games, setting up a group bond that will allow them to step outside their comfort zones and practice their leadership skills as well as have an amazing time.

The two programs onsite this week are Journey and Advanced Leadership Seminar (ALS), both boutique programs that have been specifically designed for this particular group of participants.


ALS is a program for advanced young leaders, most of whom have attended MLW’s Senior High Workshop. We have 22 delegates in this year’s cohort. This program is directed by second-year director Mehran Hossaini.

Sunday at ALS started with get-to-know games, a campus tour, and the theme reveal (Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief is this year’s theme!), before diving into a Public Speaking Seminar, led by former Senior High Workshop director Annie Coble. Delegates prepared “POP speeches” before coming to site, so having a public speaking workshop right off the bat sets them up for success as they will share their POP speeches with one another throughout the week. Ask your child to share his/her POP speech to see their public speaking growth!

Sunday continued with the first session of Practicum, where delegates get the opportunity to implement their leadership skills in a real world project. This year’s ALS delegates will create a curriculum guide and plans that will provide Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy participants with leadership skills. The curriculum will be used for a half-day session during an instructive afterschool program. Later this week, ALS delegates will travel to DC to visit the Academy! You can learn more about the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy here:

On Monday, ALS delegates attended their first workshop, titled You Are The Sum Of What? This workshop was facilitated by MLW Professional Development Director Michael Burgan and Program Committee chair Sterling Grimes. Delegates created “Webs of Life,” where they made maps of the experiences, interests, and people that have influenced their lives and contexts. Ask your child to share his/her Web of Life with you! Delegates also got an opportunity to learn more about effective use of social media in a seminar led by former Senior High Workshops director Dustin Jeter. These are just two of the many highlights from the jam-packed day.


Journey is a program specifically for middle school girls from Howard County, and support for Journey has been provided by The Women’s Giving Circle, a fund of the Howard County Community Foundation. There are 27 Journey girls this year and the program is directed by Howard County native Jessica Qiu! This year’s Journey theme is Journey Jungle.

Sunday at Journey started with get-to-know games like Mingle Mingle, allowing the girls to learn each other’s names before diving into curriculum. The first workshop was Project Planning, setting the girls up for success as they are going to be planning and implementing quite a few projects this week! Veteran MLW staff member Devan Ogburn and former ALS director Stephanie Barnes taught the girls about SMART goals, contingency planning, troubleshooting, and project planning, implementation, and evaluation. Ask your daughter what the SMART in SMART goals stands for, and what PPIE stands for.

Program Committee member Olivia Keithley then led a seminar entitled What is Leadership? What is Feminism? Delegates looked at a timeline of historical events affecting women as well as different statistics about equality and women in leadership roles around the world. This workshop laid the groundwork for a lot of the curriculum the girls will be experiencing this week.

On Monday the girls attended a Self Awareness workshop, led by staffer Alexya Brown and director Jessica Qiu. They identified their personal leadership styles as well as their strengths, hopes, and dreams. Ask your child whether her leadership style is a D, I, S, C, or a combination! They then went into group meeting, where they played games and had a blast, furthering the group bond.

Monday afternoon they started their Capstone Project, which is the opportunity for the girls to implement the leadership skills they are learning throughout the week. They are tasked with planning a day-long leadership/empowerment conference for middle school girls. They will present their plans to the Women’s Giving Circle on Thursday of this week! They then attended Filter This!, a workshop led by staffers Devan Ogburn and Kimmy Bailey. Delegates analyzed the portrayal of women in the media, evaluated the role of social media in their lives, and discussed the outcomes of social media presence. Ask your daughter to share her #likeagirl tweet.

The girls closed the night out with Zumba, a high-energy dance fitness class combining Latin and International dance music. They’re off to bed soon: they need a good night’s sleep before tomorrow’s big day at Echo Hill!