Be A Leader

Be A Leader

Dec 21, 2017

by Katrina Goodrich

A few years ago the SCSC committee sold a t-shirt/onesie that said “future SCSCer.” It was cute and seemed to come in handy for a few parents toward the end of Conference week when their kids ran out of clean shirts. SCSC is a leadership training program for young adults — but leadership doesn’t magically begin when a person turns 18, nor should it. Anyone can be a leader, even those as young as four (as evidenced by the myriad videos documenting the successes of intergenerational learning centers).

It’s never too early to start teaching children to be leaders and getting them involved in their communities. Here are a few ideas that can help kids of any age start to explore and become more involved in their community.


1. Try new things. Taste that new food. Talk to people who are different from you and learn something about them. Volunteer to try different activities. Look for ways to help the people around you. You do not have to like or enjoy all of the new things you try nor continue to do them unless you’ve made a commitment. Try new things even if they’re scary because if it doesn’t work out you’ll have gained a new experience and that is a very good thing.

2. Learn to listen. When you use your ears more than your mouth you will discover many things you might have otherwise missed. When you listen, people notice and they are a lot more likely to listen to you in return.


1. Encourage kids to get out of their comfort zone — that is where they’re going to learn. Introduce them to people of different backgrounds, colors, and ages. Teach them how to interact. Take them to the nursing home to actually visit with the people who live there and do activities with them. Encourage them to try something different; get involved with a group, club, or activity that they haven’t tried before. Don’t criticize if they don’t enjoy it. At this point in their lives kids need to learn to try something and evaluate if it’s something they’re interested in.

2. Give kids a reasonable amount of autonomy. Let them try out their ideas even if they don’t make sense or you think they’ll fail. Kids can learn as much from failure as success. If you are there to guide them and provide a noncritical sounding board and comfort, hopefully they will learn healthy ways to deal with failure. Provide supervision but allow them to make choices and receive the consequences — good or bad.

3. Stop overscheduling. Busy does not mean active and healthy or worthwhile and important. Just because little Susie and Johnny are involved in six different activities does not mean that they are in action. There is a slight chance that they will learn time management — but it might be at the expense of learning how to use free time or experiencing new things. (Kids who are overscheduled also means that you are overscheduled.) Try to help the children in your life narrow down being involved in one or two after-school activities at a time.

Encourage yourself. Support your kids.


Learning to be a leader and being active in your community can begin at any age. Support your friends. Be curious — open to new experiences. When you are older and interested in more formal leadership training consider applying to be a student in the SCSC program. But don’t wait until then to begin being a leader. It doesn’t have to be complicated or uncomfortable — just look for the opportunities around you!

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