“Sometimes, leading isn’t just about leading a group, but also knowing how to lead, and when to follow too.” Said a fellow delegate at the Reflections session of the SLC held by Dr. Kalmadi Shamarao High School, Ganesh Nagar. The Student Leadership Conference was a residential conference that spanned over 3 days and was a host of fun, interactive and experiential learning of the concept of ‘leadership’. With 16 schools, and nearly a hundred participating delegates, the conference was immensely enriching and left me with a treasure chest of fond memories, an enhanced understanding of being a leader, and several new friends.
Our stay at the Kaveri International School, a sister concern of KHS, started with a bang. Well, more accurately, with the blow of whistles and the faces of the KHS teachers at the doors. The girls dorms were filled with the air of anticipation as we got dressed in workout gear early in the morning. With the drizzly morning and an energy packed Zumba session, the day surely couldn’t have started on a better note. Conversations scaled from favourite singers, to which shampoo brand was the best. Strange how I made some great friends while waiting in cue.
Discussing the attributes of an effective leader in groups gave us more insight. A large number of opinions came up. “Alive, Alert, Awake, Enthusiastic!” were the key words heard and used in the next hours. My learnings were that in order to lead well, one must be compassionate, mindful of community needs, as well as be willing to listen. We watched a clip from the movie Lagaan, and co-related it to our learnings. A good leader does not lose sight of Vision that is to be achieved, but also ensures that all members of the group are empowered.
The Stories Communicate session dealt with effective communication, an important aspect of leading, through stories. With partners, we explored the world of story telling and shared short stories we heard as children. The entire session was filled with the sounds of laughter and childlike joy as we revisited stories we hadn’t heard since a long time. Working with tricky situations, being aware of the environment and seeking out desired outcomes from a metaphorical sea of outcomes, were some skills I picked up.
We then collected for a joint session of World Café by Anamika Sharma which served as a fictitious setting to hold group discussions. As the customers of a World Café with the mentors as our ‘servers’ and monitoring us, we then proposed ways to make this School a success. Then came the Game-A-Thon by Manish Freeman. This session, along with all the others, stripped us of our inhibitions. Playing more non-competitive and collaborative games and dances, we established strong relations with our peers and made several friends. Then for the last event of the evening, we assembled to watch a play by Aaskta Kalamanch on the problems teens face in today’s era. I was deeply touched by the intensity of the play. The whole experience put a smile on our faces and made us want for more of the same in future.