Updated: Jul 29, 2022
By Amanda R, Youth Leadership Summer Intensive Participant
When my summer started, I honestly had zero clue what I was going to be doing except for summer school and maybe looking into some colleges (I’m going into my senior year). The truth was I was just kind of bored and wanted to get away on my own for a little bit. Fast forward a few weeks before my school year ended, my mom signed me up for the three day All It Takes leadership summer program.
I’m gonna be completely honest, I had zero clue what to expect from this summer program. All I knew was that it was three days away from home at a college campus where I knew no one, and that was all I needed to be sold on the idea. Oh boy, it was much, much, more. After meeting the other people, I was going to be spending the next 3 days with (half of which were from the UK which was a TOTAL surprise to me) we got working on some leadership activities including team building games, creating our own dorm rules as a group, and just generally learning how to work with people we had never met before. Needless to say, I was having fun!
Dawn of the second day rolled around and the programming continued at a local beach. As much as we did team building activities (including digging a 4-foot-deep hole in the sand and turning one of our friends into a mermaid) the real fun of the day came with getting to know everyone more, and I ended up making some really good friends that day.
We came back later in the afternoon, and after cleaning up and having dinner, we did our final activities of the day. Now I’m not gonna spoil anything because I suggest doing this activity for yourself, but EVERYONE cried. Not in a bad way though, it was something everyone needed as many, if not all, people in our group tended to bottle up emotions (myself included). It was such a refreshing and surprising way to let everything out.
Day 3 came along and the program organizer, Lori, had planned an absolutely awesome pool party! It was so much fun, if not a little bittersweet because I had to say goodbye to a lot of my UK friends that day. Regardless, I had so much fun at All It Takes.
I made some amazing connections. Through whatever magic that I definitely needed to work through my feelings, I began to finally process events and emotions that had been seriously bothering me for a long time.
I feel like I came out of AIT a much better leader. I’ve always struggled to validate myself, and my feelings. I was able to express my feelings to a group of people like I had never been able to before, and I will carry that experience with me. I learned a lot at this program, even though my time there was brief. I think that communication is so key not only to being a leader, but to being a person and I’m really grateful this program lent a hand in helping me to start overcoming this insecurity.
I had such an amazing experience, and I’m definitely looking forward to coming back for another year of soul searching team building awesomeness!