Having never attended any sort of leadership conference in high school, I had little expectations for “Spark.” I arrived with an open mind ready to experience something new and to grow in my leadership skills.
After all attendees were put into several small groups, my team set out to complete one of the many activities set up for the conference. There was one activity, however, that really opened my eyes to the importance of communication and trust. Our task was to take a baby Eagle (a dodgeball) from one nest to another (a tall PVC pipe standing on end) using the net (a ring the size of the ball with several long strings attached to the edges) to transport it. The rules stated that everyone had to hold a string and lift the ball at the same time to move it, all without dropping said ball. After two attempts, my team and I succeed in completing the task.
Throughout the activity, the facilitator noticed that I was the one who would direct the group and give the most input. She then handed me a blindfold that I was required to wear for the remainder of the time and set up obstacles between the two nests. I then had to rely on the rest of my group to guide me through the obstacles and trust that they wouldn’t let me trip and drop the baby Eagle. It’s a weird feeling for me to let someone be in control of everything that I do. I was uncomfortable being so venerable to the rest of my team and also slightly worried they wouldn’t be able to complete the job without me. But, I was easily led through the course without a problem and we achieved our goal just a little bit slower that the first time. I was a bit ashamed that I thought so highly of my position in the group but also received that my team took such good care of me and easily directed me leading us to success yet again.
Looking back on this conference, I feel so fortunate to have realized these things about myself. To understand that I need my team just as much as they need me is such an important part of my leadership skills. I have expanded my knowledge on what it means to be a strong and effective leader.