Leaders aren’t always elected or created in a crisis. Sometimes they go through a transformative experience before realizing their leadership abilities. At Asante Africa Foundation’s 2011 Leadership Academy students discovered they already had the tools to create their dreams and the will to realize their leadership potential. They simply needed a spark to ignite the fire and the weeklong academy provided countless opportunity for sparks to fly.
Students arrived a little anxious but with a voracious appetite for knowledge and anticipation for what was in store. Before, their dreams were limited by their prior life experiences, but those boundaries began to fade away as the week progressed.
The Leadership Academy covered a wide range of topics and activities that focused on life skills as well as leadership skills. The week began with dream mapping to help students define their goals and how to take the steps necessary towards achieving them, while building a network of supportive individuals who could positively impact their lives. Students attended life skills workshops about health and gender issues. Career Day helped students explore how they could channel their knowledge and experience into different avenues of opportunity. Field trips to businesses and other public facilities exposed participants to the real life setting of professions they may not have considered before. Students heard from speakers and facilitators who were successful people with and without college degrees, allowing the students to see that dreams are achievable from unique backgrounds and experiences.
More importantly, the Academy experience provided a safe and open atmosphere where students were encouraged to lead and discuss ideas, share stories and engage in meaningful dialogue. They were given rein and empowered to drive sessions, modeled by alumni students from the previous year. Facilitators didn’t transform the teens, the teens transformed themselves as they saw their potential within.
At the end of the week, participants could confidently answer their own questions –What is my dream? What are a few steps I can begin to take now toward that dream? Who can help me along the way to support my vision? What can I do to manage obstacles in my path, and how will I begin to pay it forward beginning tomorrow?
Everyone left with new friends and the knowledge that they can elevate their lives and change their communities for the better. They also left with a shared vision of success and “Tuko pamoja” meaning “We are one!” This idea and what they experienced at the Leadership Academy will guide them for life. A leader comes in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds, but all leaders share a strong sense of what they want to do and how to make it happen. Thanks to Asante Africa Foundation and its supporters, there are 75 new leaders in Africa with limitless potential to be the change they envision for their communities.
How Can You Help?
By making a tax-deductible contribution you will help provide one of our young scholars with the opportunity to go to camp where they will learn new skills and meet new people. $150 will send a student to Leadership Academy. Can you help us make it happen for 84 students?