After leaving one of the last sessions of the Leadership Weekend last night I was having a conversation with one of the clinicians when he remarked: “Everything I have heard this weekend has been so great, I wish ALL adults would have to attend this Leadership camp.”
I’ve been thinking about that statement ever since. I have sat in on a session or two every year that I’ve been here at the Symposium, and there is ALWAYS a story or message that resonates with me. There are even some sessions that I’ve seen year after year, and while I enjoy the session, it doesn’t quite hit me until I’m experiencing something particular in my life and then upon the fourth time hearing the message from the session, I think, YES…that’s exactly my situation, and that’s exactly how I should think about it.
I think that’s what I really enjoy about the Leadership Weekend. You can attend year after year, and there’s always something you can get out of it, No matter what age you are, where you are in your life, you can ALWAYS keep learning how to be a better, more empathetic person. To be a truly effective leader, I think you have to keep learning and keep thinking about how you interact with others. Weekends like this one help to bring that message back front to mind. Talking about leadership can help you look at situations and problems you may be experiencing in a new way.
On Saturday I observed a small group discussion. One of the students I talked to about the small group said they called it a “get real” session. The small groups are fascinating to me, because they bring the students together in a small setting, students from all across the country, from different size band programs… and they talk about REAL issues they have in their programs, in the schools, in their life. AND THEN THEY HELP EACH OTHER! There’s a SWAG who facilitates the discussion, but the students themselves are choosing the topics they are discussing and they are having really smart and thoughtful conversations about leadership and human interaction.
When I was talking to Linda, who has been a SWAG the entire time I’ve been at Music for All, I asked her what she hoped the students get out of the small groups.. what she said epitomizes what I love about music students… and about this camp.
“I think I’d like for them to be able to take this experience home, I want it to change the whole world. You can only change the whole world one at a time, and those kids are from different areas so they will take it home and slowly, but surely, change the world.”
This is what I love about music students, about Music for All, about this camp, and especially about the Leadership Weekend Experience.
I really do believe that these young adults can change the world. They are thoughtful. They aren’t afraid of long days or hard work. They know what it means to be a team… and they are learning to be incredible, selfless leaders.
So as the Leadership Weekend Experience comes to a close, I’m once again filled with hope for the future.
These ARE the people who will change the world. I can’t wait to see them continue to shine.
Author: Erin Fortune
Erin Fortune is the Director of Sponsorships at Music for All and has been with the organization since 2010. She is a graduate of the Music Industry Management program at Ferris State University in Michigan and is a former Percussive Arts Society and Yamaha Intern. When Erin isn’t working or traveling for Music for All, you can find her doing Karaoke or planning another trip to New York City to see as many Broadway shows as she can.