Our group discussed an array of issues mainly dealing with everyday life as a student. Some of these issues included textbook prices, the bus system, and lack of a grocery store on campus. Our group prioritized the lack of a grocery store on campus as the issue most worth looking into. We thought that the bus system is a pretty easy fix just one that really is up to the school to improve, and textbook prices is a problem that’s up to the professors. We liked the idea of a grocery store on campus and thought that there’s a lot of ways to make it happen. I thought this group collaboration was a great way to step back and learn to listen to others as well as a way to practice collaboration and agreement between possible project members. We each took turns discussing possible solutions to the problem while others in the group would bring up pros or cons to each solution. It was interesting that everyone in our group agreed to take on a small problem, and no one really went into any huge concepts or world issues. I think this happened because a lot of us agreed with what was covered in lecture and basically that it’s better to achieve a small win than to take on a big problem and fail. We didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back I think that was our biggest success. By focusing on issues that mattered to us and also issues that were reasonable, our group was better positioned to solve and fix these problems. Listening to others and trying to understand their solution from their point of view was helpful in determining in the task could be done and I thought our group did well in these aspects.
My most unique leadership experience caught me by surprise during the summer going into my senior year of high school. I was an avid cross-country runner in high school and especially looked forward to training in the summer. My coach has annual tradition at the end of August where he takes the team to a beautiful provincial park on Lake Erie in Ontario, Canada where we camp, run, swim, and prepare for the upcoming season. By my senior year, I’d made my mark on the team and coach rewarded me with the team captain position and passed down the all the responsibilities that come with the title. That year camp was going to be extra special because I was captain, and I would be the one my teammates would look to for guidance and as a role model. One of the jobs that coach would give me was to look after the campsite and the team while he would drive the bus into town to get gas. This was normally one of the easier tasks given to me. It was toward the end of week and camp was coming to an end and nothing had really tried my duties has captain up to that point. Coach told me he needed to fill up the bus and pick up some more firewood, so I would be in charge of things until he got back. I took my normal position at a picnic bench in the middle of the campsite and played some cards with a few of my friends and awaited coach’s return. Things were as they always were. The sky was blue, the campsite was dirty, and my friends and I were enjoying a nice game of euchre. It was a little windier than usual that day, but it was hard to notice since our campsite was so close to the lake and constantly getting a breeze. A sharp gust came through and blew the cards off the picnic bench I was playing at. As I bent down to pick them I heard a loud, sharp snap like a firecracker or something. As my eyes glance up to see where and what this sound is, all I see is this massive oak tree slowly falling right onto a couple of my teammates’ tent. I looked at friends and could see just how frozen everyone became. I knew I was finally being tested as a captain, so I quickly ran over to the tent yelling to see if anyone was inside. As I pulled and ripped into their already mangled and smashed tent I was relieved to see it was empty besides a few broken cots and plastic bins. I knew although the worst had thankfully been avoided that I still had to calm everyone down and make sure everyone was accounted for. Younger classmen were pulling out cell phones and beginning to text and relate this story to friends and family and I knew that needed to stop. I swiftly knocked phones out of hands and gave the word to put them away until we were all accounted for and everyone was calmed down. I didn’t want everyone texting their parents and friends and turning this incident into a huge headache for coach and the school, so I had a few my friends help me control the younger kids, while I called coach to let him know what happened. After the call to coach, I was approached by the young kid whose tent was smashed by the tree. He was pretty shaken up and told me that he woke up from a nap in the tent only a few minutes before the tree fell on it. I knew he needed to be comforted, but not to the extreme, so I told him to just hang out, get a Gatorade, and that I’d talk to him in a bit. Before I could do anything else coach came back and took over. Later that day I went on a run with the kid and he seemed to be doing a lot better and thanked me for calming him down back there. That night coach told me I did a good job handling the situation and appreciated what I did for my teammate. As a went to bed that night I reflected on the experience and was proud of myself for reacting and crafting a strategy as quickly as I did, but still wondered what I could have done differently. After learning about crafting in lecture, I’d now look back and say I did a pretty good job.