By Sharrmini C., GCELE Jamaica 2016
Volunteering at the Power to Be International in Negril, Jamaica was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had, especially because it was my first experience interacting with kids in a camp environment. I was so excited to teach, motivate and empower the kids, the minute I landed in Jamaica.
But there was one particular valuable experience I have had with two campers in my class. After lunch time, I was supervising the girls’ dance group when one of the campers confronted another and said that she couldn’t accept her in the dance group. There was a rush of thoughts going through my head – How do I solve this conflict? Should I comfort the camper, whose feelings just got hurt, first? I decided to comfort the camper and then give a talk about inclusion to the girl, who confronted the camper. As I was teaching a lesson to the girl, I asked “How would you feel if she didn’t want you to be part of the dance group?” The girl responded “I don’t care if [she] didn’t want me to be in her group”. I was expecting her to say something completely opposite of her response. I figured the inclusion talk didn’t work so, I decided to ask for help from a staff member about the situation. When the staff member and I went back to the girls’ group, we saw all the girls smiling, laughing and practicing the dance and they were acting as if a conflict had never even happened. The camper who confronted another came to tell me she apologized to the girl for not including her in the dance group.
I was there to teach and motivate the kids, but I was also there to learn and grow with them. Despite the conflict, I’ve learned that unity is one of the most important concepts of being a great leader. Unity helps one another grow as individuals and learn from each other. A leader who unites people to accomplish a goal and to resolve an issue is a great leader. A great leader who unites people together brings success to the team. When the kids got together to finish their dance routine after the conflict, they taught me about unity and how to be a great leader. This particular experience has showed me that we must not resent each other after a conflict has occurred but to unite and to become a better leader every day.