A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. ~ John C. Maxwell
That’s exactly what the Senior Student Council ’13 learned this weekend, at a Leadership Camp organized by INME.
Going for a leadership camp isn’t exactly what it sounds like. We aren’t taught what to do, and how to do it – with basic instructions, we have to do a task by working together and knowing how our end product looks. We aren’t told that we’re making a mistake, that we’re doing something wrong – unfortunately, we have to figure that part out for ourselves. And it isn’t all fun and games – while we did enjoy ourselves, we did work hard too!
We started our workshop on Saturday at 10 o’clock sharp. We started off with basic introductions with our instructor. Most of us already knew Dr. Apoorv Bajpai, or as we called him “Doc”, from our interaction with him during the Outbound Trip last year. This proved to be beneficial, considering we already had an established rapport with him. We even got a Student Leadership Handbook, which was very interesting.
Our first activity was actually based off campus, at an area where we would find underprivileged students aged 10-12, completely of our choice. We were given some limited resources (such as Frooti juice boxes, biscuits, books and first aid supplies) and were told to equally divide the resources amongst all the students. We decided to go to a nearby school in Dommasandra, where we were told that there was an estimated number of 25 students. Interacting with these children was definitely the highlight of our day. We talked to them about their aspirations and what they wanted to be when they grew up. While the younger kids were adorable, exclaiming loudly and raising their hands for every other profession, the older kids did have a certain aspiration in mind. We found that, unfortunately, they didn’t believe that they could get there, and our hearts went out to them, and we did our best to convince them that they could most definitely work towards their goals. In between serious discussions and learning, we even played cricket and dodgeball with the whole group and that was so much fun! All 11 of us had a blast, playing with these younger kids, even if they didn’t know the rules that well. It was all about having fun.
We ended up giving the resources to the teachers, considering the fact that the kids were fasting. We felt that was one aspect that we should have factored in, and planned for. While talking to the teacher, we realised that the infrastructure was the main challenge that the children and their teachers faced. The building is extremely old (built pre-Independence) and often leaks when it rains, preventing the teachers from being able to take classes.
We reflected quite a lot on our journey back, thinking about what it was that we did right, and what we did wrong as well. We even drew up a couple of plans to improve our Community Outreach program which we definitely intend on discussing in our next council meeting.
After a quick lunch and game of cricket, we got back to work. After reflecting about what we thought a good leader was, we sat down to watch the award winning movie “12 Angry Men”. We were completely engrossed by the movie and Henry Fonda’s character, whilst munching on popcorn. After the movie, Doc taught us a model on different types of leaders (the enforcer, the negotiator, the collaborator, the lone ranger and the soother). We could clearly identify which character was which kind of person, and we realised that the negotiator is definitely the best personality for a leader.
The next day we started a little bit earlier, at 9 am. We were extremely excited, because we knew there were more fun activities to do. The first thing we did was divide ourselves in groups. We had to put ourselves in a situation where during a journey, our plane crashes and is about to blow up. We are given a list of items in two different holds of the plane. The only catch – we could only choose 10 items and all 10 items should be from the same hold. By the end, we had realised that our decision of what to take, what to leave behind and which hold to choose was based on our method of survival after the explosion. Either, we could stay put and wait for a rescue team or we could find civilization, and accordingly, we realised that we needed to make a decision. The clear message that rang true was the fact that to make a decision as a leader, we need to know what our goal and our end result looks like.
After that, we began what I would say was the most exciting activity of the entire camp. We were given some cardboard, other materials and instructions on building a boat. For nearly 2 hours, we tirelessly slogged over our boats, making mistakes, realising them and even improvising on our boats. While it was extremely difficult, it was definitely the most enthralling activity of all. The best part was testing out the boats! We placed both boats in the water (in the swimming pool) and two people from each team sat in their boats. Using paddles and terrible coordination, both teams raced each other in our cardboard boats. The team that I was part of won!
After this amazing activity, we sat down and did some more work. We learned about FLOW moments and its importance in life. Arpita Ma’am and Venmal Ma’am joined us for the later part of the afternoon. We mostly drew up 5 Plans of Action that we as the Student Council needed to work on. This required a lot of brainstorming and cooperation between all of us. It was actually extremely productive!
At the end of the workshop, we did an appreciation exercise, where we went around to each one of the council members telling them what we appreciated about them.
The camp was a great amount of fun. It was interactive and enjoyable, and on behalf of the Student Council, I extend a warm thank you to Doc, and the INME team for coming to Inventure and hosting this camp. Amidst lots of laughing and silly moments, we did learn a lot. As we look forward to the year to come, we sincerely hope that we can take all that we learned and apply it towards being the best leader that we can be.