My past year has been uplifted to new heights! on August 7th I embarked on a journey to Stanford University in California to attend the People to People Student Ambassador Leadership Summit. From the 7th to the 15th I stayed in a Stanford dorm room and learned extensively about leadership, college, and the world. I have raised over the previous year over $2,900 through bake sales and selling my own poetry to raise the money!
Over one hundred young leaders attended this summit with me. Nearly thirty of them were from South Africa, about ten were from Nigeria, ten from China and another ten from Korea and Japan. Not to mention a few from Alaska and Mexico. The diversity and culture they brought with them raised the entire experience to a new level. I had an amazing adventure. .
On the first day I met my roommates Cody from Hawaii, Roman from Bakersfield, California, Ben from Idaho, and Jeff from Korea. Over the week we came to be good friends. At dinner we learned from guest speaker Sunjay Nash. He spoke on leadership and a quote I gleaned from his speech is “A leader is the best he or she can be and encourages others to follow.”
Then on Monday we went out in the foggy San Francisco weather to a ropes course. We climbed thirty feet in the air, walked along a tightrope between two trees, and zip lined down. In addition, we were faced with a challenge: we had to cross a gap of ten feet with two six-foot boards within twenty minutes.
But there was a twist! If the boards touched the ground, we suffered a penalty. Our group of ten had to chose a leader and they chose me! Through that experience I learned to listen to the suggestions of others and execute their ideas, for a leader is nothing without followers. A girl named Mikayla from South Africa suggested we leverage the boards. That turned out to be the key to success. We were the only group able to cross the gap in twenty minutes.
Then on day four, we learned how to serve the community. We traveled to a food packaging facility named Alameda Packaging in the city that provided food for needy San Francisco citizens. It felt great helping people with along with my friends. We packaged 2,500 pounds of spaghetti and beans in three hours. Also, we finalized community service action plans that we were to present the next day.
Day five was a great day! It was when we went into the city! Our tour began at the Fisherman’s Wharf where we ate at a local eatery called Bubba Gumps. We could see the Pacific Ocean and Alcatraz Island through the window! Then we traveled to the Golden Gate Bridge a fantastic structure. Last but not least, we drove through the steep streets and wide alleys of San Fran, ending at the beautiful Lombard Street before returning to Stanford.
Above all, the last day was my favorite. In the morning we woke up at seven as usual, but dressed in suit and tie to present our community service action plan. Mine was called Leadership in Readership and brings teenagers in my community together to read to younger children.
After we finished the hard work, it was time to party! Over one hundred of us traveled to the bay and boarded a luxury yacht. We took a mesmerizing voyage along the bayside. From the boat’s wraparound windows, I could see San Francisco glittering in sunlight. We passed the Fisherman’s Wharf and traveled under the Golden Gate Bridge. As we headed back in the evening, the lights of the city glittered like stars. The best part was the dance floor on the lower deck. I am sure that I’ll remember that day years from now.
As I said goodbye to my new friends on Saturday and left Stanford, I came to understand the true meaning of this program. I now have made friends with people all over the world and understand their way of life. The purpose of this was to build connections with people and I am grateful I was able to do so
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