Exclusive interview with Nick Vujicic : Future Leaders Conquer New Heights

Nick Vujicic Youth Leadership Retreat

By Cassandra Hsiao

It’s happening all around the world especially among the young people. We hear about it everyday in the news – bullying, lying, stealing, dishonesty, etc. It all sums up into three words: crisis of character. Our generation’s future lies with the young leaders. Where can teenagers learn about all the aspects of leadership?

At Nick Vujicic’s youth leadership retreat, of course!

Nick Vujicic is an international motivational speaker. He was born without limbs and leads a ridiculously great life. His organization, Attitude is Altitude, planned the entire retreat, which lasted from Friday , May 4, to Sunday, May 6, 2012, located at Camp Whittier, a 55 acre resident camp hidden in the woodlands. The camp was especially designed for kids in grades 6-8, with fifty participants in all.

“The idea for this retreat was sparked by the desire to touch the lives of youth by interacting with them in a format that was more involved than a 60-minute talk,” described Daniela Munther, the director of the camp. She also contributed her effort and creativity by preparing the camp’s curriculum. “We wanted to offer an experience that equipped students with more life and leadership tools as well as more time with Nick.”

The three-day retreat consisted of a full day high and low ropes course, workshops, sessions, discussions, and fun-filled, challenging games and activities. The five different presentations challenged campers to think deeper about the meaning of leadership, find their identity as leaders, step out of their comfort zone, experience breakthroughs, and demonstrate character in their daily life.

“I’m just really excited to see all the activities effectively enforcing the importance of servant leaders, being a follower or a leader, and teamwork as well,” Nick said.  “Courage is also important. Half the kids here don’t want to do the high ropes. It’s pretty scary, doing something you’ve never done before, to actually stretch the limit a little bit. I want to let them know that they can accomplish more than they think they can if they give it a shot.”

Many of the campers agreed that the ropes course took them to whole new heights (literally).

“It was challenging but it was very fun,” said camper Grace Wu, age 13. “Even though there were some times when I wanted to get down as soon as possible, I pushed myself to the end and I’m glad I did, because the experience was amazing.”

Along with the flexibility of roles and courage in leadership, there are many other characteristics of a leader.

“First of all, it’s honesty. That goes hand-in-hand with integrity. As leaders, we need to be authentic. We need to be real. We want to make a difference in people’s lives. You have to have integrity, and you can’t be fake,” Nick reflected.

At the camp, teasing, even just for fun, was strictly prohibited.

“We have to respect ourselves in the right way, and then once you’ve learned how to respect yourself as a human being, then and only then you can love someone else. I asked some teenagers, ‘What if no one ever teased you? Would you ever bully anyone else?’ They said straight away, ‘Nope. If no one teased me, why would I tease anyone else?’ People tease because someone teases them.”

Nick’s reinforcement of no teasing set a safe and upbeat atmosphere in camp. In fact, the camp was such a big success that Altitude is Attitude might organize an international camp next year. Both counselors and campers can’t wait for the next camp! Everyone took away priceless experiences from camp.

“I really loved camp! I feel like I grew as a leader as much as the campers did,” exclaimed Alexa Valadez, one of the eight counselors. “There were a lot of challenges for me as well, for example, recognizing when to step back as a person in charge and letting the campers take control. It was really rewarding to see them turn into leaders.”

The campers also talked about their lessons learned.

“One part that stood out to me was when I learned that we had to be a serving leader and that we have to be open to their ideas,” said camper Carolyn Lee, age 13.

“The best part was learning more about how to become a better leader. Each person has their own individual talents and gifts that they can use in a shared leadership,” said camper Grace Wu. “Everyone can then pull together and they can form a good team.”

Daniela Munther (director) explained that young leaders are not just leaders of tomorrow, but also leaders of today.

“Not to train them up in leadership skills would be to rob our society of leaders.  And without leaders, we rob our society of something grand and invaluable – change!” Daniela emphasized. “It is important for young people to become leaders so that they can become catalysts for positive change in our world. Without their contribution, little will ever be accomplished.”

According to Nick Vujicic, the power of multiplication is priceless.

“We can actually be the difference. We all have a purpose in this world. We can make it a better place and it starts with us.”

Published @ http://walnut.patch.com/blog_posts/future-leaders-conquer-new-heights



About Cassandra Hsiao

Cassandra Hsiao is a senior at OCSA (Orange County School of the Arts). Her work has been nationally recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and National Student Poets Program. She has been chosen as finalists of playwriting competitions held by California Young Playwrights, The Blank Theatre, Writopia Labs, and Princeton University. Her poetry, essays and reviews have appeared in TeenReads, Jet Fuel Review, Feminine Inquiry, Aerie International and more. She also conducts print and on-camera interviews as a Star Reporter and Film Critic for multiple online outlets. She won a National Gracie Award in Student Online Video Host Category by The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation . https://twitter.com/Cassandra_Hsiao

Posted on May 11, 2012, in Interview Videos, Interviews, News and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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