AALEAD High School Youth Reflect on their Leadership Experience

By Francine Gorres, MD Programs Manager
Photo Courtesy of AALEAD Staff

Before the start of Summer Programs, High School students applied and were interviewed to become group leaders and mentors for Middle School youth in the AALEAD Summer Kinect Program.  As part of the experience, High School youth participated in daily de-brief meetings to process their leadership development and to formulate action steps for improvement.  This past month we were able to review and analyze some End of the Summer surveys and reflections from our High School youth about their leadership experience. Have a look about how they have processed their experience.

“I learned a lot about myself throughout the summer. Summer Kinect helped me develop better leadership skills. Before this I also didn’t realize how big of an impact I could be on people younger than me, so I took that as motivation to become a positive role model. Through this experience, I also learned that teamwork is essential to make things like this happen. The idea of teamwork is something that applies to life in general as well and Summer Kinect opened me up to be able to work with others in a timely and productive manner. This journey was overall a great one for me and it’s great that we combined having fun and learning to work hand-in-hand.” (Female,17)

“I really enjoyed my summer with Summer Kinect, and I am glad to have been a part of it this summer. This was my first summer to have really connected with middle school students. I really enjoyed being a high school leader and it makes me happy to know that some middle school students enjoyed spending time with me. I learned that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Each strength and weakness is essential to create a cohesive group. I also learned that each leader is different from one another and it’s just a matter of how a leader handles things that makes them unique and different from each other. Having to spend so much time with both high school and middle school leaders definitely opened up my vision of what family is. I cannot emphasize enough the bond and quality of the relationships between staff, leaders, and students; and I thank AALEAD for continuing doing an awesome job in orchestrating it. Lastly, I learned how confident I am with other people than I am alone. Thank you so much staff for all the work you put in the program!” (Female,17)

“I learned how to deal with kids, speak out and not be shy and quiet, express myself in music, dance, and talking, how to encourage kids, mediate my group members when they had problems and didn’t like each other at first. This experience taught me how to be a way stronger leader than before. I learned how to lead and rise up to the occasion and be a true leader to lead my team to victory as well as speaking out and taking the role to lead and knowing I can do it.” (Male,16)

“In Summer Kinect I have learned a lot about myself. I learned that I’m not very open with others and that being open is a good thing. I learned that I’m more inclined to try new things with friends and people I trust around. I learned I can make friends better if I just be myself. I learned about service too. Service to those in need helps so many more people than you think. The car wash told this and that something small can really make a big difference. Even service to one person is equal to service to hundreds. I also learned a lot about leadership. Leadership is difficult and not just something anyone can do. Leadership is very important and the best way to learn is to try. I learned that I could be a good leader, but I would need to have experience. I have made many good friends and a great summer.” (Male, 15)

Mid and End of Summer Reflection, Male, 17

Mid Summer Reflection – “My experience about my Summer Kinect this far is good. This experience is very important to me because this is my first time joining AALEAD. Last summer it is not that fun and active to me because I only stayed in my room to play games and do my work which is not that fun. But this time since I joined AALEAD I learned a lot of new things example are have to be a leader and how being a participant can be a leader too by setting an example. In this last three weeks of Summer Kinect I want to be more confident and open to others. Right now I’m on my way to on succeeding in my goal, but fear of rejection or being ignored is holding me back. This is why I will keep challenging myself to be more confident on myself. This SSL experience is different from others because this teaches how friendship and leadership works. It also creates a special bond between students that can last maybe forever.”

End of Summer Reflection – “During AALEAD my experience is great. I met new friends from different groups and schools. Before going to this program my first thought was this going to be boring and I will quit in the week, but as the day goes on it keeps on getting funner and funner. This program made me build my confidence in front of people. I learned how to be patient and take care of people.  Thanks to AALEAD that I did not spend my summer doing nothing just sitting down on my desk and play computer. I had a lot of fun this summer. I’m hoping that I will be able to come back next summer. Thank you AALEAD!!”

We are so proud and happy to hear such positive feedback from our youth. It is truly a privilege to be part of their personal development and self discovery. Congratulations to all of the Summer Kinect High School youth and to all of the Staff involved for creating such a wonderful experience for our youth! Thank you to all of you for supporting AALEAD Programs.

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