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Becoming Better

By: Mia, Sophomore, Southern California

At the end of my freshman year of high school I got elected Vice-President of Latino Youth Leadership Group (LYLG), in doing so I got the opportunity to attend this summer leadership program at Channel Islands. I didn’t know what to expect and everyone there were strangers to me. They didn’t stay strangers for long though.

I made connections that were unexpected like friends from parts of England. They were really open when talking about their culture and they even gave us treats from England like their amazing tea. My experience at the All It Takes Youth Leadership Summer Intensive taught me emotional maturity, emotional vulnerability, how to be a better member of society, and a better leader.

There were many instances where you had to be vulnerable. For example, on the first day when I barely knew anyone we did this eye contact exercise. There were no words said but you had to exchange feelings or “stories” through your eyes. There’s a saying “the eyes are the window to your soul” that I didn’t understand until I did this exercise at All It Takes. You, also, had to be emotionally mature. The ages in our group ranged from 14-20, so it was fascinating to see how we’ve all got things in common even though some of us are just starting high school and the others have already graduated.

In a traditional game there’s a losing team, so that there can be a winning team. In society, there’s this concept where you get to the top and disregard who you step on to get there. I’m competitive, I enjoy a game where I have the chance to win. So, when Lori presented us with this team-game where there’s two teams and you had to cross “space” and get to this “planet” and then the other teams “planet” to “win,” I was all in for it.

However I soon realized that while my team got really far, we had to help the other team “win.” That, in my head, didn’t make sense. I had the objective of the game all wrong. You had to help the other team get onto your team's mat, so you can get on the other team's mat so we could all be successful. If you put this in a real world manner, sometimes you have to give and help so that everyone in society can be successful instead of stepping on people. This exercise taught me this idea that I hadn’t considered before. We should all do this and I strongly believe youth all over the world should attend something like this. It would result in better functioning members of society and a better society overall. We are the future leaders after all.

In All It Takes, I learned how to be a better leader. To be a good leader you not only have to be able to be a team captain, but a team player. You have to be able to respect boundaries and listen to everyone. We did this exercise where we divided the introverts and extroverts and we talked about our strengths and weaknesses, as well as, what we ask from each other.

This actually helped me realize that making assumptions is wrong. Instead to communicate and to practice the platinum rule: treat others the way they want to be treated.

All in all, going to this camp felt like learning years of knowledge, but it was only two days. I wish for everyone to experience something like this. It was good for my growth as an individual and I strongly encourage everyone who has the opportunity to attend this!


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