Reflecting On My Time at AIT's Youth Leadership Summer Intensive
By Nathan W., 17, Senior, Southern California
Personally, my time at the All It Takes Youth Leadership Summer Intensive was extraordinarily beneficial to my personal growth in strife to becoming a better leader, communicator, team member, emotional agent, and so much more. I would highly recommend any youth, no matter the age, who is willing to learn more about both themselves and the peers who surround them to attend. In only 2 days, this program accomplished connection and security far beyond any other institution: school, family gatherings, public spaces, etc. My first impression on this program did not strike me as much; though, I was excited to meet newcomers from England and enjoy a culture from 5000 miles across the globe. Diving into the program, I slowly realized the immense impact created from this comfortable enjoyable environment which Lori set up, from her teachings to the down time provided, I flourished.
In school, I was generally more on the reserved side, I mostly talked to my close friend group and rarely attempted new conversations. During this experience, I decided to let go of my introversion and open up to my fellow camp mates. In turn I was treated with such friendliness and I experienced happiness on a different level. One of the activities which Lori brought us through extended that comfortable space past the camp. Our group of three was tasked with finding a stranger on the campus and making their day better. At first, this was a little outside my comfort zone, but I was eager to open up completely, even to strangers on the college campus where the program was held. Our group found a very nice elderly woman with her dog and we all just sat there talking about the dog. At that moment, I felt rejuvenated, I never realized how simple it was to approach a stranger and just chat. Throughout the camp, I opened up, and then I opened up more, and continued my quest into new unknown territory. As the camp concluded, I felt so connected with the other camp members, those 2 days of memories seemed like weeks to me. I am truly grateful for that opportunity which took me above my comfort zone and elevated my current being.