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Leadership is a big word, with a big meaning. Leadership is very diverse. A leader can be outgoing, a leader can even be an introvert, and that’s the beauty of leadership.
My name is Sam Shea, I just graduated high school, and will be attending my first year of college in the fall. I’ve gained a lot of leadership skills throughout my high school career by being involved on student council and attending a 5 day summer workshop through a non-profit organization called “Launch Leadership.” When I first started high school I didn’t consider myself a leader at all because I was very shy and introverted. After my first year on student council I realized that being shy and introverted was totally okay. My voice was able to be heard just as clear as the loud kids. How is that possible? A quiet leader is someone who doesn’t necessarily share their thoughts out loud but helps with projects behind the scenes, and that’s exactly what I did. I was always ready to jump up and help with a task.
Come to my sophomore year of high school, I was introduced to the non-profit organization called Launch Leadership. A few kids on my student council went years prior and always talked about it. Spending five days on a college campus with kids I have never met did not sound appealing to me at all. The summer after my sophomore year, my brother nagged at me until I would agree to go. So I signed up and before I knew it I was arriving at the campus where the workshop is held. My heart was pumping out of my chest because I was so nervous to meet all these new people. We were split up into co-ops, which was a group of 12–14 kids whom which we would spend a majority of the week with.
I was sitting in my co-op room with all these kids I’ve never met and within seconds the staffers started having us play get to know each other games. After a while I started to like what was going on. I was becoming my true self in front of these complete strangers. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be myself so quickly around a group of strangers. Our co-op became a family within the first day, it truly felt like a magic spell was placed on us. Throughout the week we partook in leadership activities followed by processing, which is where at the end of each activity we sit down and talk about how that activity related to our lives back home and what we took away from it.
Fast forward to the end of the week. We were saying our final goodbyes to all of the new friends we made over the quick 5 days. For a kid who doesn’t like to cry in front of people, I was balling my eyes out because I didn’t want to leave the happiest place on earth. The place I felt most secure and most welcomed. I knew I had to come back the following years. So I did, I returned to the summer workshop up until my senior year. Meeting new kids and reuniting with the ones from years prior. It was such a special feeling. My confidence continued to grow year after year and that carried over to my performance in school. I learned so much through this organization that I become a whole new person. It changed my life for the better and I’m incredibly grateful for that.
Recently I became a staffer for Launch Leadership which was an absolute dream ever since attending the workshop as a student. Being a staffer allows me to put an impact on kids lives just like it did to me. I get to see the magic of this organization through the opposite end and it just makes it 10 times better than before.
The confidence I grew because of Launch is remarkable. The leadership skills I’ve learned is out of this world. I hope everyone can find the spark of leadership within them. Together we can make this world a better place.