Inclusion is Key

“Before camp, I would follow the crowd in a group of friends that would do exactly the opposite of what this program teaches you to do.  We would stick together, and not include anyone that was not a part of our group.  They would always make fun of other people, and I would just let it happen without saying a word.  So then I came to SLTP, and it changed my entire view on everything.  I learned how including people can make a big impact on their lives.  I now believe that I can make a difference. 
I can go back to school in September and start making changes right from the first day.  I may not be able to change the way everyone else acts towards others, but I can make at least one person feel more welcome and feel like they really do belong.”
Brianna Fontaine
Warwick Veterans Memorial HS

 

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Students First

There is no mistaking the importance of student activities to the life or effectiveness of any school.  The life lessons that can only be taught through activities would be justification alone, but as we know student activities create the atmosphere which makes learning possible.
    
The best student activity programs are student led.  Where does the leadership come from?  Less than 1 percent of all of the high schools in America teach leadership as a class.  Less than .05 of 1 percent of high school students ever attend a leadership program of any kind.
    
As a result, generally only those students who are aggressive or extroverted or pushed by parents or teachers find leadership positions in high school.  In other words leadership is left to chance or luck.
    
With the given importance of student leadership, with the known impact student leadership can have on the atmosphere of a school, why isn’t more done?  You know the answer - there just isn’t time.  Academics, sports, test preparation—all take priority.  And leadership is left to develop through evolution, unless the student can be encouraged to take it upon themselves to learn the skills.
    
Leaders must develop emotionally, socially, morally and experientially.  These development levels are interconnected and actually interdependent.
    
Socially student leaders must see beyond their own cliques.  They must develop the skills necessary for inclusion and learn to trust those in authority and those who are younger than they.
    
Morally student leaders must develop ethical standards.  Honesty, integrity and sincerity are the cornerstones of leadership.
    
Emotionally student leaders must learn to manage anger and to diffuse conflict.
    
Experientially student leaders must develop the skills necessary to work with groups, inspire teams and to make a difference.