Monday, December 14, 2009

Outdoor Leadership

I am currently working on my Capstone project to finish a Masters in organizational leadership. You will probably read a few posts from me about this over the next few months.

I was doing some research last week. Do you know how many articles and books there are available on leadership?! Hundreds. Topics range from leadership, to recognizing it, being a better leader, leading change, leaders during problems, leading in crisis, leading teams, leadership development, etc. While there are various topics and themes to the research, there is an underlying message in each – leadership is important.

While businesses want to hire young employees who show potential as strong leaders and colleges are looking for students who will be leaders in the community, I could not find a lot about leadership opportunities for high school students, especially in Colorado.

Why is this? There are national programs and conferences that students can go to, many times to represent their school. These programs typically last for a week with the goal to give students the resources to be leaders when they get home. There is something lacking with these programs though. They are indoors in classroom settings. I disagree with this teaching method.

Leadership is experiential. Yes, there is a need to understand certain principals and methods that can be taught in the classroom, but this is not enough. To best learn to be a leader, young adults need to interact with others and practice being leaders.

I think it is the best way to learn. I have worked with high school students from various backgrounds and experiences and have watched them all demonstrate stronger leadership traits than they thought possible while leading outside.

Can you think of ways to teach young adults to be future leaders in the outdoors?

1 comment:

  1. Interestingly enough, I think leadership is the number one thing I learned while at Sanborn. When you're engrossed in activities that force you (in a positive way) to step up when needed, and feel as if you're making a difference, then you want to constantly be in that leadership role and perpetuate it onto others. It could have been anything from knowing that you had to set up a tent later that night, or you needed to be watching the horses as they were being hobbled, or that the dishes had to be washed for the next day in order to keep hiking. These were what were constantly on your mind and you learned and grew with those around you who had the same ideas looming in their noggins as well. Leaders grow with other leaders, and I think Sanborn was the perfect breeding ground for leaders of this world. I can think of more than half of my cabinside of Silver Spruce West in 2000 who I would love to see as future leaders of this world. Sanborn should be proud.