Leadership in Action
This signature program guides the emerging leader through personal reflection and mindfulness of the self and of others; an 12-hour intensive all-day workshop which guides students through the basic fundamentals of being an effective leader. Through interactive exercises and activities students explore the art of communication, the power of collaboration, active listening skills, exploring identity, and so much more.
Leadership of the Self
All great leaders throughout history had one thing in common; they all were great leaders of themselves, first, before they were the great leaders of the world. This module aims to cultivate greater leadership of the self through self-regulation, discipline, and elevated consciousness. “Leadership of the self” is designed to give students an open, free space and judgement free zone so that students can go through an extensive process of self-discovery, which will spark their creativity for new ideas. This relational process is nhanced as the students develop a foundation of trust between themselves and their cohorts in a safe collaborative environment. Through interactive exercises, students will have the opportunity to explore their persona and perhaps their multiple identities, gaining them a better understanding of the self and of others. The participants will walk away with an elevated level of self-consciousness, understanding the ecosystem in which we live and how their thoughts, actions, and decisions can have a lasting impact on people everywhere, be it local or global.
The Art of Communication
Communication is not only an art but there is a science to it as well. Communication is the process by which people connect and exchange information or news. Effective communication is an integral part of leadership. Each individual’s own personal experiences create a filter for how words and language are interpreted and so those filters will serve as a decoding mechanism for informing the messages that one receives. When one engages in a conversation with someone else, one may give meaning to words and phrases based on that person’s own understanding from past experiences. The same is true with the person on the other side of the conversation. That person will, too, give meaning to words and phrases based on their unique experiences. Our goal at YLI is to help young people break down the barriers to good communication and to teach the students the different components that are needed to become an effective communicator. This module will explore active listening, seeking to understand vs seeking to be heard, tools for effective communication, shared values, and how to achieve common goals with peers.
YLI’s Political Advocacy Training is a precursor to the annual Capitol Hill Advocacy Day. Here, young leaders come to understand how to read and interpret policies that are made through Congress and the Senate. Students learn how to effectively advocate on policy issues for optimal outcomes. Participants learn best practices for conducting House and Senate visits and how to engage with their elected representatives. This workshop offers hands-on, practical training to students with the opportunity to practice mock interviews as well as formulate practice questions and debates based on a specific legislative issue. Once a student completes this prerequisite training, then they will be ready to attend the Capitol Hill Advocacy Day, which provides students and young leaders with a real-life experience on how to effectively advocate with their elected representatives on legislative issues that matter most to them.
The Power of Storytelling
Storytelling, as a skill, falls under the broader umbrella of communication. Storytelling is a skill that allows a leader to grow beyond just being a good leader to becoming a great leader. A great storyteller has the ability to captivate one’s audience and to be influential among their peers. Each person has an individual and unique story to tell and it is important that young leaders learn how to tell their stories in a manner that resonates with people and inspires others to action. Storytelling is a great way to inspire and impact large groups of people to share your sentiments about a particular issue or cause. This module will allow young leaders to explore their own personal narratives, develop a narrative that best describes their lifestyle and their past experiences, and will breakdown all the necessary components needed to tell a great story. The students are paired with a teammate and they’ll have an opportunity to practice their first draft of their story, in which each partner helps the other through the editing phase of rewriting their story. Once completed, each participant will then tell their story in front of the larger audience, allowing the students to practice their persuasive public speaking skills.
Active listening is a tool and communication technique that is used in counseling, mediation and training in order to achieve a conflict resolution. Active listening is a structured form of listening and responding that focuses the listener’s attention on the speaker. It requires the listener to fully concentrate, understand, respond and then remember what is being said by the speaker. The listener must take care to attend to the speaker fully, and then repeats, in the listener’s own words, what he or she thinks the speaker has said. The process requires one to listen to understand by repeating what has been heard for clarification purposes, to ask questions, and to engage in dialogue that will allow diverse perspectives, difference of opinion, and new ideas. In this workshop, YLI harnesses the opportunity for young people to explore new territories and new ways of listening to other people. The module of active listening is an integral part of the Art of Communication and Conflict Resolution forums.
The state of our current political climate has left many, young and old, feeling apprehensive about their own personal security as well as the security of our nation, as a whole. Young people especially, Millennials specifically, are being threatened and targeted as a result of their intersectional identities, linked to a specific gender, race, class, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. Through this program, we provide students a safe space and a platform to communicate and express their frustration, their ideas, their thoughts and their aspirations about the current political climate. This is a creative expressions workshop that allows students to explore mediums such as poetry, prose, music, and the arts as channels of effective, creative, and uninhibited expressions; channels that are non-violent in nature and expressions that may inspire others.
Hostile Environment Response
When we feel threatened by our environment, our initial instinct is to react often times with a fight or flight impulse and that may not always be the best response needed to bring forth the most lucrative or constructive outcome. It is also important for students to understand which situations may be a threat to one’s own safety. Through this workshop, YLI aims to provide non-violent tools for dealing with hostile situations, situations where one may not feel safe physically and emotionally. Students are tasked to recognize when their safety is at risk when actively engaging in a hostile situation, when it is important to ask for help and tools for bystanders of tough situations.
The global citizenry module tasks the participants to ask themselves very hard questions and to reflect upon their existence in the world, their purpose, their passion and why were they created? It requires the young leaders to delve deep into their souls in order to try and understand their relevance on the planet and what it actually means to be an active, progressive citizen of the world. Through panel discussions and group dialogues, students get to explore an additional layer to their identity and they also begin to gain a deeper understanding of their contribution to the world. This training module underscores the interconnected nature of our ecosystem, while allowing the participants to discover how each of their roles, choices and decisions can and will have an impact, locally and globally. During this training, the participants will have an opportunity to select an issue of interest, be it economic, social, political, environmental or humanitarian, for a break-out group discussion. Each group will have to analyze the issue, define the problem, state how they, potentially, may be impacting the problem, and what can they each do to help mitigate or solve the problem. The young leaders walk away with a greater sense of individual responsibility and social accountability as an active citizen of the world and the need to take action whenever a problem presents itself.
YLI incorporates the Learn and Serve America National Service Learning Clearinghouse concept of service learning. YLI encourages its young leaders to stay engaged in meaningful community and humanitarian service. Our method of teaching through reflection on humanity and instruction for service is meant to awaken the young minds of the participants and elevate the consciousness about the importance of service to humanity. The program has a two pronged approach, to first provide learning through action and second, to allow opportunities to serve our communities and give back to our fellow citizens of the world. Students walk away with a renewed spirit toward and desire to serve others.