Monday, December 22, 2008

Youth Leadership Council: 1st meeting

Happy Holidays everyone! In the spirit of the holidays I want to share something with you that has filled me with goodwill and cheer, the Cabrini Connections Youth Leadership Council. Cierria, DeSean, LaFaye, Savon, Eboni, Sean and I came together for the first time last Wednesday afternoon to hash out our plans for the upcoming year. These 6 students, ranging from 8th graders Sean and Savon to High School Seniors LaFaye and Eboni will be convening every other Wednesday to weigh in on a wide variety of issues confronting Cabrini Connections. They will be helping myself and EL Da'Sheon in our quest to provide the most comprehensive and beneficial tutoring and mentoring program possible by helping us to plan, coordinate and follow-up on nearly every facet of our program. This first meeting provided the students with a chance to get to know each other better and share their plans and goals for the council in the coming year.

I was excited to see that they see the council as playing two primary roles. The first is to increase student involvement in our programming and in the planning and execution of said
programming. The second goal, which I am very excited about, is that they want to really use the council to develop their own leadership skills. We followed this with a discussion about what it takes to be a good leader, what skills and characteristics they share. The students came to the conclusion that good leaders:

-should want to lead
-are good communicators both in public and private
-are confident
-follow through
-know their weaknesses and work to address them
-know their passions and follow them
-are open-minded
-lead by example
-are dependable
-respect others
-are good goal setters

We all agreed that we are going to work to develop these skills in ourselves, myself included, throughout the year and I have already thought of a number of different activities that we can do as a group and individually to address these skills, which I will elaborate in a later post.

We also were able to hash out some logistical details. For instance, the council decided that, when voting to recommend a particular action, consensus is not necessary and that only a majority of those members in attendence is necessary. In the event of a tie, the council decided that I can cast the deciding vote. I don't have a vote otherwise, which I think is good; It's their council, i'm just the facilitator.

The council also has the opportunity to send one member each month to a district wide council that makes decisions for other youth development organizations across the city. This job comes with a $200/month salary. Therefore the students debated the merits of having one student go each month and keep the salary or having multiple students rotate the position and split the cash, or have everyone rotate the position and use the $200/month as a budget for the council to spend at their descretion. They unanimously agreed upon the last option, sharing the responsibility and using the money as a budget.

Well that's about it for the first week, but needless to say, I'm extremely pumped about the progress that we've made even in the first week and will be happy to keep the public informed via this blog. I am also eager to unveil a very special announcement that the council is keeping secret until mid January. Until then...over and out

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