As a senior, this is my second year being a part of the Leadership Institute here at Good Shepherd Parish. All of the time that I have gotten to spend a part of this group has allowed me to learn so much and make so many new friendships. Since our parish has people from multiple towns, Leadership acted as a catalyst for those inter-town friendships to form and some of my closest friends are now from another town.
The group of friends that has formed has become a safe space in which we all feel we can be open towards one another since we have talked about the deep stuff in our lives. Having people that you feel like you can talk to about absolutely anything is the type of environment that Leadership has created not only for me but so many others.
Leadership has also allowed for me over the past two years to become much more involved in what is going on at church and all of the different events that I can go to or volunteer at. This past year I was able to be a leader on all of the retreats that we hosted with our youth ministry program. Getting to lead small groups and activities allowed me to gain so many new skills that I most likely otherwise wouldn’t have gotten.
Leadership Institute has taught me courage. It takes a lot of courage to talk to a group of people and tell them what they should do (such as instructions for games and activities) or how to follow what is happening. I was also able to give my witness talk a few times which takes even more courage. To sit in front of about 40 or more people and tell them about the hardest times in your life takes a tremendous amount of courage and, because of Leadership, I had that opportunity to grow and do that.
Most importantly, Leadership has further connected me with God, I can find myself more easily spending more of my free time in a positive way growing my relationship with God.
Overall, leadership has truly allowed for the best version of me to come out and thrive in a welcoming community of teens that all have similar visions.
The time I have gotten to spend a part of this group has been great, and I am sad that it is almost over but I know that the friendships that it has facilitated will last.