By Nancy Nolin, Science Applications International Corporation -Adolescent Substance Abuse Counseling Services ProgramApril 16, 2010
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany - Emerging Leaders, the ASACS student leadership group, has invited guest speakers this past year to share their thoughts about positive qualities of leadership.
The students agreed that it has been helpful to have speakers attend their meetings to share ideas about the role of leadership.
Recently, Brig. Gen. Steven Salazar, commanding general, Joint Multinational Training Command, was the invited guest to an Emerging Leaders lunchtime meeting. As a public speaking exercise in leadership.
Emerging Leaders Kristine P. and Nick B. introduced the general by reading part of his career biography. Additionally, Phillip R. shared with Salazar the projects that Emerging Leaders have worked on this year and the leadership skills they have been learning and enhancing.
Salazar participated in a round-table format with the eighth grade students of Emerging Leaders. As they shared lunch, many of the students discussed what they had learned from previous community leaders who spoke at similar luncheons, including Col. James Blackburn, Lt. Col. Eric Stetson, and Shannon Sevier.
They also discussed the many projects they had implemented, the most recent project being "Wounded Warrior Week" at Netzaberg Middle School. This project included the students planning and organizing steps to collect specific items so that they can be sent to the wounded warriors at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.
"LBE ~ DRT" was a key message Salazar conveyed to the students, which stands for "lead by example and do the right thing." Salazar said students could use the acronym to for future reference when making decisions.
Salazar asked students about their vision for the recent wounded warrior project.
Nick L. said he "wants the wounded service members to know that we care about them."
"I want to say how much I appreciate the sacrifice the Soldiers have made for us," said Meraleigh R.
When the general challenged the group to have a vision of what that would look like, students brainstormed. Riley F. suggested a group photo in front of the Netzaberg Middle School sign so that it can be sent in with the care packages the Emerging Leaders will send to the Soldiers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. Megan M. and Emily M. also suggested students write poems.
As the brainstorming session progressed, Chris O. volunteered to speak with his language arts teacher about students writing letters and poems for the Soldiers. Another student volunteered to speak with the art teacher to see if cards could be made for the care packages. Cody W. and other students discussed what it would be like to be present when the Soldiers received their care packages at Landstuhl.
While students brainstormed more ideas, Salazar asked who would direct and take leadership of the process.
After several students discussed who would have the best access to the schools resources, Ben B. volunteered to lead the effort. The general then had him lead by delegating and Ben chose Meraleigh R. to be in charge of the efforts.
"Part of leadership is also about influencing and motivating those who you lead," Salazar said. Salazar also emphasized that a leader does not just leave it at that, instead, the leader is also responsible for assessing the results and working with a team to correct things when the results are not completely fulfilled.
As a conclusion to the visit, Taylor A., Phillip R. and other students gave Salazar a tour of Netzaberg Middle School.
Editor's Note: Nancy Nolin is a licensed clinical social worker of the Science Applications International Corporation -Adolescent Substance Abuse Counseling Services Program at Netzaberg Middle School. She designed the Emerging Leaders leadership committee, which provides students with avenues to learn more about leadership and to assist with drug and alcohol prevention projects at the school. For more information, call DSN 472-9250.