The opportunity to work with leader in chapters separated by hundreds and in fact thousands of miles presents challenges in providing the needed training that equips for success. One successful innovation has been with some of our youngest leaders. Read on to hear their enthusiastic participation in the reworked Apprentice Certification. The certificate is available in a 4- 6 hour online offering housed in our eLearning arm of our Learning Academy.
What is most encouraging is the ability of student leaders at this age to reflect, connect and communicate online with a community of students prior to an in-person opportunity.
The below stories of transformation and thoughts on leadership our apprentices are just some of the ongoing sharing in our online iApp training. Some of these students have just turned 14 this summer but the depth and maturity of their posts demonstrate clearly that they are grasping what leadership looks like and they are eager to apply it in their own lives. The question asked is in bold and the replies of different students follow in italic. Underline and bolded is my own emphasis.
Think of a time when an experience affected your perspective of leadership, communication, or life in general.
"At our first chapter meeting of the year, I think some of the Student Leaders (including myself) were rather nervous about beginning the chapter year. That’s kind of expected. What wasn’t so expected was that there was a new family “checking out” our chapter for the first time, and one of their children did not want to come inside. (Apparently he got really nervous about the whole situation.) To help him feel welcome and less nervous, our chapter all went outside and asked him to join us in a race, which he then won. Within minutes of that, he was fine.
This taught me that sometimes you have to adapt and be willing to do things you wouldn’t normally do in order to help people.
I am becoming more and more involved in my church youth group, and I must say, it is not very well organized. There were some problems and divisions between the teens this past year, and it is just now starting to recover. I remember taking the initiative to get involved with some of the people who help plan events for the youth group. I am not really friends with any of them, so it was very intimidating for me to go and have to work with them. Now, a few months later, I can see that my work has paid off and that the schedule for youth events is becoming more and more organized as time goes on.
It seems like the best way to communicate with someone is to talk to them. That's taking initiative, right? But that's not necessarily the best way. Sometimes the best way to make a personal connection is to listen.
While I was working through YSG II, I came across an interesting assignment: to practice actively listening for one week. As I worked through this assignment, I discovered that listening to what other people have to say can sometimes be really hard. Often this is when it's little everyday conversations with your family. I thought I was a pretty good listener up until I worked through this assignment. Over that week, I noticed that I made a more personal connection with my family when I really listened to what they were saying.
"People don't care how much we know until they know how much we care." During a conversation with someone it is hard to listen to that person; I know I tend to want to give my input. With that mindset, your focus is not on the other person; it's on you. That's the wrong way to communicate. The other person should be the focus. When trying to communicate something, you do have to talk. But words are not the only way to communicate. I learned that when you're not giving a speech, a good way to communicate is to listen. It shows that you care.
Taking initiative to talk and start a conversation with someone is very important. But after that, taking the initiative to actively listen is the best way to communicate with someone.
Thank you, iApp students for sharing and communicating online!
Our constraints produced a wonderful window into our younger student leaders' experiences. Sharing experience is the theme for our Fall Communicators for Christ Tour but sharing isn't limited there. That’s the reason for this post….so that you could know the transformation taking place in this one community of ICC! Our online learning is just one place to experience the community of mentoring Christians to lead. We are so glad to be on the journey and look forward to sharing your stories of transformation too.
ICC’s International Director, Learning Academy