Life Leadership Report

Youth Service is the essence of what Rotary is all about. Every year there is a state conference held in June. A total of 147 students attended; some Rotary clubs sent as many as 5, 7, even 9 students. Our Rotary sent 16, and some of them spoke to us today to help us understand what they did at the conference and why it was important to them.
The speakers included an introduction to the Life Leadership Conference by Noah Jacobs (Conferee of the Year), Kevin Kim, Cruz Pena, Lauren Ross, Andrea Lindbach, Kendall Jones, and Esther Nario. They summarized how they learned about different leadership styles represented by the four points on a compass – North = Assertive, East = Creative, South = Cooperative, and West = Factual. This helped them to understand their own and others’ leadership styles and how they can effectively work together.
Kevin reflected on the impression speaker Ann Bonnie made on him about how life’s journey doesn’t always go as planned. Make it about the journey and finding the courage to embrace new ideas and break traditions to improve lives.
Lauren explained the “family” groups they were placed in. These were groups of kids who had never worked or met before who got together after the activities and speakers to discuss and reflect on what they had learned. She said it gave a perspective from other kids like herself and fired her up to bring that knowledge back to her own school.
Andrea told us about speaker Johnny Shuttell who saw her passion for music and not only volunteered to help her define her path, but to make sure she knows not to settle, but to lead and be grateful.
Noah talked about the talent show activity as a confidence-builder and Kevin played My Heart Will Go On for us on a recorder. Noah’s favorite speaker was Zach Noling, John’s son, who enlightened them on being a CFA in China and demonstrating to the kids that it’s a big world and it isn’t just about us.
Esther was moved by the experience of seeing herself as a leader and motivated her to get more involved at her own school. She’s now looking into the Hispanic Leadership Conference for herself and other Muskegon Heights students. Even though she’s shy (interestingly, Esther was also mentioned as senior kicker for the Muskegon Heights football team) she knows the importance of getting more kids involved.
Kendall was impressed with speaker Molly Kennedy who taught them that no matter what you go through in life, it’s all in your perspective of things and keeping a positive mindset in everything.
Cruz was so motivated by the Life Leadership Conference that he came back and started an Interact club at Muskegon High School, with help from John Noling. Cruz also underscored the gratitude all the kids felt for our Rotary Club for sending them to this incredible program.
When Noah asked Rotary Members why we helped send them, the response was exactly what they were looking for. We have heard what a great program it is, and what a fantastic way to help mold our leaders of tomorrow.

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