What’s the longest you’ve spent trying to accomplish something?
For around 23 years I’ve been working with youth and young adults in some capacity. One of the interesting challenges tends to be how to gain the attention of your audience. There are a handful of ways I’ve tried - some successful, others not so.
In the cases of working with youth sometimes your audience is the youth themselves, others it is parents or guardians. Yet others, the audience is other adults in the lives of those youth - i.e. teachers/schools, youth organization leaders or team coaches. One thing I’ve learned for sure though; it’s usually a combination of some of the above.
Despite hurdles or closed doors the goal is to find a way to inspire, encourage and empower these young leaders. John Maxwell says “The only guarantee for failure is to stop trying.” Although many students may not agree, I find summer is a great opportunity to learn a thing or two. What I mean, is it’s typically a good time in our lives to pause and evaluate - make changes where necessary, adding or subtracting to help us be more intentional.
This past summer I had a realization that would help me overcome a hurdle I’d been facing for some time.
In my years of working to serve and add value to youth I’ve often tried to work within schools to do so. Afterall where do most youth spend most of their time? It just seems to make sense that the first path you may want to try is what seems like the most sensible. In this case, asking the school or school district how you can serve is a good starting point. In many schools across the country they welcome help with open arms, in some cases they don’t need any help and there is an array of schools that fall anywhere in between.
I’m not saying one is right or wrong - there are a multitude of reasons a school or district may say yes or not yet, when it comes to something someone like Leadership Harbor may offer. The lesson here is that there is always a way. As I was saying, this summer I had a realization…
I know that I know that I know a values-based leadership program will positively impact a community of youth when given the opportunity to experience it. Pre-COVID we had tried to find a different way to get this particular subject in front of some middle school students. NOW, not only are the restrictions of COVID behind us but I was about to have a middle schooler of my own!
That’s right - not only was I going to be the parent of a middle schooler, but my middle schooler had friends. Friends who I’ve gotten to know since they were in kindergarten together. And those friends had parents - many of whom I also have known since our kids were in kindergarten. I’ve been honored to have these relationships and now the intentional attention of some great youth and their parents for this journey.
When you can’t get to what you want to sometimes you have to find another way.
I’m so glad we’ve found a way with some great middle school youth. I GET to hang out with these youth a couple of times a month after school and together we’re discussing and learning about values-based leadership. When we find a way we empower youth to change their world. For their sake and ours we cannot stop trying, evaluate along the way and continue to find a way to accomplish what you know needs accomplishing.
Make it a Great Day, Chris