Leader-what?

Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t – Bill Nye 

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What does it mean to be a leader? My job this summer is to take this question, sift through my own experiences and try to teach 15 year old kids what it means. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.

  1. A leader believes in their own abilities
  2. A leader know their weaknesses and works towards improvement
  3. A leader knows when to step back, watch and listen
  4. A leader knows how to gain respect without having to raise their voice
  5. A leader can come in all shapes, sizes, ages, genders, and personality types.
  6. A leader is respectful, responsible, inclusive, caring and honest
  7. A leader overcomes challenges
  8. A leader doesn’t just show the way, they go the way and lead by example
  9. A leader has a sense of humor and is able to laugh at themselves
  10. A leader is only as good as their attitude and commitment to their team

It’s pretty late at night and I’m just pondering the things I’ve learned this summer so far. I think I’ve learned a lot more than I’ve taught. Thanks, chillens.

Leadership is a funny thing. It is often made to look effortless by the people who do it well. And yet, it’s freaking hard guys. It’s hard to have that much responsibility, whether you are leading a song at campfire or leading a canoe trip. Anytime you are in charge, there is pressure there.

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I guess I’m just impressed. I’m impressed by my kids, both last month and this one. I’m proud of last months kids; of how much they learned, of how they came together as a team and of how they grew as individuals. Even more so, I’m impressed by the August kids. They have only been here for 5 days and I can already see them thriving. They take initiative to help clean the dining hall. They encourage each other to try new things. They smile a lot. They have positive attitudes (even if they roll their eyes at my uncoolness). They help younger campers and volunteer to sing at campfire and set high goals to push themselves to be better.

lshipWho am I to teach them?

I’ve gone through this program. I’ve had leadership roles, I’ve been a “leader” many times. Yet, I’m still always winging it. I’m still learning everyday through trial and error. I guess that would be:

11. A leader never stops learning. They never stop setting goals for themselves and aiming to be better people.

12. A leader inspires others to want to be better too. That’s what my kids have done. 

They’ve made me want to be a better leader.  I still have a long way to go.

Until then, I guess I just keep doing my best and learning from everyone I can. From my co’s who amaze me everyday by being the incredible people they are, from the kids who have left me and changed my life, from the kids who are here now and keeping me on my toes day by day, surprising me with their maturity and insight. I can’t imagine a more rewarding job. Thank you leadership…I can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer has in store.  Please, teach me everything you can in these next few weeks. I always grow the most on Kitchi sands.

And maybe, just maybe, I’m teaching them something too.

Until next time,

-Sam

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Summer Compass

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I love the friends

I don’t see very often.

Because when we’re together

it feels so damn good.

Laughter and voices

keeping time with each other.

Old friends learn new rhythms

and teach songs learnt far away.

But then, the chords strike up

the old classics

and voices raise.

Hands find other hands,

and fingers intertwine like constellations connecting the dots.

Time vanishes while the guitar strums.

Everyone forgets

how long it has been.

Everyone forgets old conflict,

old fear.

Being together, just feels

right.

We lay on docks under summer stars

that freckle the sky.

We don’t need to see faces to know who is there.

Quiet secrets;

whispered stories,

come alive around the campfire.

And the night slips away,

like it wants to give us

some privacy

but the sun disturbs us all too soon.

When we say goodbye,

hugs and tears

mingle with winks and

inside jokes.

It’s okay.

We always find our way back.

Maybe not for a while.

Maybe not here.

But these friends are my summer compass;

warm summer nights always point back

to them.

Update on my life

Hello! I'm back!
Hello! I’m back!

I’m starting to find that the longer I go without writing, the harder it is to get back into. There have been so many times the last couple of months that I’ve thought to myself “Hey, this was cool, I should write a blog post about it.” And then, obviously, never did. Which makes me sad because, I write this blog for myself as much as (or more) than I do for readers. Being able to look back at my exchange in at least a decent amount of detail is already something I appreciate.

Since the last time I blogged, a lot has gone on in my life! I spent the summer at my of my favourite places on earth, Beausoleil Island being a counsellor at Camp Kitchi. It was honestly one of the best and challenging experiences of my life. At first I felt like I had no idea what I was doing but I figured it out slowly but surely. Hanging out in the cabin with all my crazy girls, becoming close friends with the rest of the staff, guarding and teaching at the Main Docks, canoe trips to McCrea Lake, camp-fires and mail and all camps and life chats on the dock at night. It was just incredible and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I’ve also started gr 12 which is exciting, stressful and challenging all at the same time. All anyone talks about is “So, what are you doing next year?” which becomes absolutely exhausting after a while and you just don’t want to hear the question any more! At least I already know where I want to go (kind of) and what I want to study. I actually applied for my schools/programs yesterday which is kind of surreal! Weird to think that next year I’ll be living in a new city whether it be Ottawa, Peterborough or Toronto! Can you guess which schools I applied for? 😉 I’m actually taking a few days off school this week to go tour the campuses! I applied for International Development/International Studies and hope to add a second major in French eventually! Apparently you can’t do that when you apply!

university-application

I also have a job now, I work at a gas bar on a highway rest station which I like! I wanted to lifeguard but missed the hiring because of camp! I actually do like my job though because it’s not stressful and I get to interact with people all the time! I also still am a student leader at my church, a mentor to grade 9’s at my school and just recently became a French tutor which is kind of cool! So that’s about it. Just figured I’d catch up on what’s been going on in my life so that I can get back into blogging and such. 🙂