The traditional view of leadership is stale and outdated. Many young people do not want to be the person at the top or front, making decisions and telling everyone what to do. They want something different, something that feels right to them.
That’s where we come in. Our job is to help kids re-imagine leadership, to show them that it’s not about being at the front or making decisions, but about being self-reliant and helping others. When they realize that these are forms of leadership, they are often surprised. “Really? I’m a leader? That was leadership?”
Creating these opportunities is simple: take a group of kids outside, give them a mission to accomplish, and watch the leadership spirit emerge. We see it all the time on TAASC trips. The trick is to coach students to see it, and then to help them find a leadership style that feels natural to them.
The truth is, leadership can come from anywhere. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing, what matters is choosing to be the person who makes a difference and helps others. As Simon Sinek says, “Leadership is a choice, a choice to look after the person to the left of us and the person to the right of us.” At TAASC, we teach our students to look for these moments and to practice and experiment with them, so that they can find their own personalized and inner-connected leadership style.
“TAASC was different because it pushed me so much harder than any other sport or group I was ever in. You have so much personal responsibility — bring your own clothes, your own food, your own water — but you have the double responsibility of being a part of a group and helping out your group mates and being aware of what they may need. That amount of responsibility has made me be a better person in other groups I have joined.”
-Freya Pollock, Age 21 Clark University student Alumni 10 years in TAASC