Leadership is one of those catchy sensational words used by almost every youth organization in existence. Every one working with today’s student population wants to boast of “making the next generation of leaders.” But what does that mean today? Have we used the word leadership as a marketing ploy? Or, are there ways to quantify leadership and help students understand what it means to lead in their private lives, public lives, and any spheres of influence they get a chance to engage?
For the last week I’ve been working with The KIVU Gap Year students during their re-entry program. Our students start a journey through the year to travel the world, engage in local businesses and NGO’s, and experience foreign cultural differences.
At the end of the year, the students go through a process of re-entering America culture, and it is a true wake up call to watch leaders rise to the surface.
Each student has a new outlook on what it means to connect with people groups here in America and all over the world.
Each student has a personal story of what it means to actually do the work to help various organizations function as they have 900 hours of internship logged through the year.
Each student has the space to explore who they are, what they believe, and what character principles they are going to adopt to help shape their lives.
If we, those of us who are working with young people, do anything apart from helping students function from within the “Who they are” and build on principles of leading, we’re not actually working to develop leaders. We’re just using a word.
After working with these students of the KIVU Gap Year 2018, I’ve seen personally how important it is to allow students to EXPERIENCE leadership along with the theories of leadership we teach them. As they have a quiver full of stories to now go out in the world and find people to lead, I’m convinced these kids are going to do GREAT THINGS for the world and for all our future.
I’m thankful to be giving to a new generation of leaders.