Written by Kimberly Jackson, Enrollment Specialist
This February, Big Brothers Big Sisters enrollment staff hosted an interactive conference for High School Bigs ambassadors. The Leadership Summit hosted a select group of high school club presidents, cabinet members and volunteers who display leadership potential.
As an enrollment specialist for the High School Bigs program and one of the leaders of the winter conference, I intrinsically believe in the value of developing youth and seeing them transformed. Working on this year’s High School Bigs Leadership Summit is so meaningful to me because of that purpose: We are empowering and equipping our youth mentors to create change in their communities.
These high school leaders need to realize their value as peer mentors so they can inspire other students to volunteer. Working toward this goal, we designed an environment at the summit where students could actualize ownership, collaboration and solution-based thinking.
Developing Leadership Skills
First, attendees worked in teams to design a Rube Goldberg machine, which links tasks to demonstrate a domino effect.
The activity’s purpose was to highlight a tangible example of how completing a simple task can be an extraordinary feat. It’s much like the steps they take as High School Bigs in changing the lives of their Littles.
During an inspiring large group discussion, students presented their high school clubs’ successful initiatives and opportunities for improvement. High School Bigs club presidents were recognized and prizes were awarded to outstanding volunteers. We also left time in the schedule for students to get to know individuals from other schools. It’s never too early to network!
Before leaving, each High School Big completed an exit survey for the leadership summit and the greatest takeaways were incredible. “[The summit] gave me an opportunity to have a voice to improve the program,” wrote one volunteer.
The summit represents our agency’s mission, vision and purpose, and how our youth volunteers are contributing as one-to-one peer mentors. These students are extraordinary and through this event, we were able to create a stronger community, fostering creativity and collaboration. The skills they learned will contribute to their development as mentors, changing the lives of children for the better, forever. I stand with our agency’s vision and am proud to have led a summit that aids systemic social change.
The 2018 High School Bigs Leadership Summit was generously sponsored by Niagara.