Great leaders in great places… part 1

Posted on: 11th April 2012

As you probably know, Teen Spirit has an elected Board of Directors made up of current and former members of Teen Spirit, who act as a collective voice representing the group. We provide a platform where young people who sometimes feel voiceless can be heard or even seen – we feed back to B&S about how Teen Spirit is working, where we can improve and how we can grow.

Last weekend the board set off to Oxford with the aim of training to be better leaders and planning for the year ahead – what would our aims be? How would we achieve them? What kind of leaders did we want to be?

The journey set off from Paddington Station for an hour’s journey into Oxford. Greeted by its majestic feel of romantic buildings and beautiful gardens, Oxford feels like the city in the country and shows off the best of both worlds. As we wondered into the town centre, we felt the liveliness of a city but without the rush and abruptness of London and couldn’t help but marvel at the magnificent architecture full of charm , beauty and of course, basking in history. Truly an inspiring place for a weekend where we would need to be creative and feel empowered.

We arrived at our accommodation at Mansfield College (part of The University of Oxford) where we were each assigned our rooms, and were all ecstatic to run into them, eager to see what awaited us.

After settling in we ventured out to see what life was like in one of Britain’s most historical places and also to get fed! We stumbled across many restaurants but finally found Fire and Stone. Here we devoured pizzas from across the world and I one of the best desserts ever… more importantly it was really important to spend some time with all of the board together at once – everyone began to relax and bond in a way we hadn’t before and we were all eager and excited to see how the weekend would unfold.

Later on, and back at Mansfield College in the magnificent Tower Room: down to business. Our first group activity was to establish what we wanted to achieve from the weekend, and from the Teen Spirit Board of Directors as a whole. We talked about what we each bought to the board, our hopes for the weekend and also what we didn’t want from the Board of Directors.

Friday night ended with a wonderful quote by John Quincy Adams.

The next day, business started early at 7:50! Although breakfast was more than excellent, it was the time we shared and the bond we built that left its mark on me.

After breakfast a busy day lay ahead of us, full of activities and tasks led by the wonderful Ethan, who volunteers with the Board and is an expert in leadership.

We worked hard to establish what the roles of The Board Of Directors should be:

This was the result of exploring what leadership means and what it takes for to be a good leader… it was now up to use to work out how we’d put this into action.

“To be a great leader and so always master of the situation, one must of necessity have been a great thinker in action. An eagle was never yet hatched from a goose’s egg.” – 
James Thomas

For me, my highlight of the weekend was the stories we shared, to say they were moving would be an understatement. They taught me that it doesn’t matter where you started out, how rocky the your path is, we can be all leaders as its never about the destination its about journey.  And this journey is one that taught me “to do great things is difficult; but to command great things is more difficult.” Friedrich Nietzsche



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