Learning to Lead

On Saturday, March 6, thirty-three students from four New England states (CT, MA, ME, RI) gathered in Boston for the region's first leadership training. Read on to hear what three students from Portland, ME say about the training!

Post By: Becca Coyne, Adrienne Broadwater, Hank Stein. Students from Deering High School, Portland, ME.

Coming from Portland, ME to downtown Boston was pretty intimidating. However, the weather was beautiful, and it was impossible to be nervous on such a day. The workshop was held in two classrooms at Boston University, and all of the young leaders seemed to arrive at once. The room was packed full of us, and as we soon realized we were all there for the different reasons. The first activity was one in story telling. First we listened to Rouwenna's emotion filled tale of herself. Then we split up with random partners (that we chose by making eye contact with a random person across the room) and we each told our own story of self.

This ended up being one of the most memorable parts of the day. Each person had their own story, and the amazing part was that at the end of the story they all had the same resolution...We need to act, and stop global warming. That is what gave us the drive to come to this workshop. Then we split up into larger groups to talk about the story of us. What connects us to each other and to a greater audience. We worked with another high school from Portland. We ended up discussing the sense of identity that comes with being a Maine-Ah. To conclude the story telling segment we talked about the story of now. We decided that this was to propose the urgent challenge of stopping global warming, and in some way or another to motivate any audience into action. After all, this is our only planet and we don't get a chance to save it. We discussed the emotions that might provoke or prevent someone into action.

Lunch. Who doesn't love lunch? After eating outside we eventually found ourselves talking to new friends. We were no longer individuals fighting. We had become a team of friends uniting against a common enemy.

After eating there were three quick presentations. The first was a Massachusetts initiative (Commonwealth Challenge) of having audits and weatherizing houses to lower the total emissions in Mass. by the amount that Beacon Hill produces. (Watch the cool video about the Commonwealth Challenge here.) Then the Massachusetts organization Students for a Just and Stable Future (SJSF) made a presentation about who they are and what they are all about. Currently they are a college group that does environmental lobbying, and are avid rally-ers. They suggested ways to get involved, and their own desire to work with high schools. Later I found out that they are also thinking of expanding to all of New England. The last presentation was a video. For lack of better words, it was awesome. It starred a group in Worcester, MA that took the initiative to get lead out of the soil in their city. The group is called Toxic Soil Busters and they have fun while doing some great work.

The last segment of the day was breaking up into two different workshops. One looked at using the medias as a tool for education.  They talked about five important factors in making videos and getting the message out there. The three of us were in the other workshop. This taught us how to run an effective meeting. Since Becca and Adie are the future presidents of our school's Action/Green Team this proved to be a very useful meeting. They learned about leadership, and what makes a strong team. In the workshop we even developed our own projects using the 7 step process. All the projects were radically different, but they all were in essence the same. We learned a lot about how differences can become the glue that holds us together as a movement. The fact that not all of us have the same priorities and agenda makes us that much stronger since we all have the same goal.

We came by ourselves, but left as a group. We are the future leaders, and now we have the skills to lead.

For pictures of the training, click here.

Rouwenna Lamm

Rouwenna Lamm is ACE’s National Program Director. She was a founding member of ACE’s New England team in 2009. She’s educated 67,000 students, trained 1,000 youth leaders, and built numerous ACE regional staff teams. Today, Rouwenna directs ACE’s regional programs and is focused on maximizing the collective impact of ACE’s programs. She loves playing outside and relaxing with friends.