February 18, 2009

Leadership Mount Allison

So I went to Mount Allison's Leadership Certificate Award night on the January 31st (and just received my certificate due to a small clerical error), finishing the process that began in September. At the beginning of each year there is an all-day retreat at a camp in Moncton with different team building exercises, followed by a series of speakers talking about ''leadership" in different scenarios (Bathurt's Mayor, the founder of War Child Canada, and others) and a group volunteer project. Below the info from Mount Allison followed by my written response to it...a little corny I know...but true. There's also a few pictures of the Leadership retreat...which in the beginning of the first semester is a great way to make friends and meet new people.
Leadership Development Certificate Programme

The Leadership Development Certificate Programme is a peer-led experience, offered as a not-for-credit program. It's a great way to meet other students AND to foster leadership abilities AND to get involved in university life. The registration fee is just $20.

No previous leadership experience is required for the Certificate Programme.

All students, members of the University community and public are welcome to share in leadership activities. Registration takes place each year in early September.

The Certificate Programme encourages small group work, community involvement, social activism, civic responsibility, volunteer activities, awareness of group dynamics, risk-taking, and conflict resolution.

The activities include:

• presentations by four speakers

• small-group discussions on the issues raised by the speakers

• a one-day, outdoor-activity leadership retreat

• involvement in group volunteer projects

• submission of a personal reflection essay on leadership development

• closing reception.





At the leadership retreat the group team building activities helped me to enhance my self confidence as every group member was given a chance to give their opinion on how best to overcome obstacles throughout the day. I especially liked the random selection of groups that forced us to branch out and interact with people we wouldn’t necessarily work together with on campus.

In terms of the speakers, I enjoyed Pippa Moss’ lecture on her time in Africa helping a family there. It was a really good example of one person actually making a concrete difference in the lives of others. I also thought Dr. Samantha Nutt’s speech about her experiences with War Child Canada was gripping, and that she made an effective call for people to volunteer. I felt that her selflessness was refreshing, and although I have already been contemplating serving in the Peace Corps after University (I have US citizenship), it helped to renew my confidence about engaging in potentially dangerous volunteer work.

Our group’s volunteer project was collecting toys and other gifts to pack in shoeboxes and taking a day to sort hundreds of boxes for the Samaritan Purse’s Operation Christmas Child. It was the first community service activities that I had been involved in that only helped those who held particular religious views. I realized that although I myself did not wish to minister to others that my volunteer work would help bring a smile to those with very little, and that outweighed any misgivings I had about the explicitly religious nature of the organization I was supporting. In the end I was happy to have helped bring something, even small and temporary, to those in mostly forgotten parts of the world.

From this program as a whole I think that I’ve gained a more global perspective, and a more honest perspective on Canada’s involvement in different conflicts in the world. The speaker’s series and volunteer project helped me think more in terms of the global village and to have a better knowledge of conditions in some of the most dangerous places in the world.

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