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The 20th Statewide Empire Promise Youth Summit

Survivor:   Jungle - Lessons in Leadership

For three days in April, students from all 51 LPP programs gathered for an extraordinary journey.  Set amidst symbols of leadership like the eagle, the elephant, the wolf, the lion, and the silverback gorilla, these students worked together with their tribe to overcome obstacles and survive the jungle.

While no jungle animals were actually present in Albany for this event, the students learned to quickly adapt as a team in order to “survive”.  Forced into a situation where they had only three minutes to choose a leader for their tribe, they then learned skills that are crucial in today’s modern jungle.  Activities centered around such things as cultivating compassion, navigating challenging dialogues, working as a team to find innovative solutions, and employing strategic thinking and teamwork to navigate through a series of challenges.

There were also awards for students, and New York State Senator Lea Webb was a guest speaker at the awards dinner.

The students had fun while honing their leadership skills.  When asked what leadership skills they felt they improved on (or what they learned), the responses were illuminating!

One student wrote “I think I learned you don’t have to be the loudest and the most energetic to lead”, while another wrote “I feel that I came away from the summit with a stronger sense of accountability, relationship building, and problem solving skills. My peers were very insightful and provided me with constructive feedback about the challenges I expressed I was facing.”

Other responses showed that the students felt they learned to be patient with others, and communication and cooperation were strongly emphasized.  Every student demonstrated growth in their leadership skills.

Of course there was constructive criticism too!  The most common complaint was that students wished the event could have been longer, as they were just starting to get to know their tribe members.  Also, the lack of pancakes.  All critiques will of course be taken into consideration as LPP starts to prepare for next year’s event.  Stay tuned!