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Defining Leadership: Through Peace in the Sport of Squash

By Alan Gao, V Form 

Defining Leadership: Through Peace in the Sport of Squash

Recently, when I was playing squash with my partner, we both felt exhausted after an hour of intense training. Seeing that there were still a few more minutes before dinner, we decided to relax a bit instead of playing competitively. We came up with the idea of “peace-squash,” and its purpose is to play the game at ease and develop a social relationship. Each player needed to serve the ball as much as they can to the other’s position, allowing him or her to move less. The one who fails to “serve” the other loses the game.

At the very beginning, we found peace-squash relaxing. We stood there casually and hit the ball to the wall. To many outsiders, the way we played the game was seemed foreign, as we didn’t intend to win the game. Gradually, the extra minutes allowed me to have the Zen moment and reflect how squash players come together as a community. Sometimes the ball is hard to catch, like near a wall or in a corner, yet we try our best to return the ball to the position where the other players feels comfortable to reach, no matter where the other is. It is pretty challenging, and as the game continues, there are often occasions where one fails to catch the ball. When that happens, the person who hit the ball previously apologizes immediately. (more…)

A Lesson from Fish Fillet

By Nikole Klodowska, VI Form

A Lesson from Fish Fillet

I am afraid of fish. No one can remember what childhood trauma could have caused me to physically shake in the presence of these scaly creatures. Over the years, I have slowly made progress – from being unable to be in the mere vicinity of fish, to tolerating a walk past the seafood section at supermarkets, to interning at a one star Michelin restaurant where I spent the day working up close with my biggest fear.

During my internship at Warsaw’s Amber Room, I worked every section of the kitchen, including what I had dreaded my entire life: seafood. One morning, I was assigned to fillet salmon for a small banquet. I winced as I inserted the knife at an angle between the fish’s skull and fleshy body, my gloved hands trembling. After successfully filleting two fish, my mentor noticed my trepidation and asked me what was wrong.  I was determined not to quit, but admitted I felt utterly uncomfortable around fish. He decided to spare me the additional trauma and moved me to another position where I would feel more comfortable: to weigh and prepare the fish for cold storage. I felt an enormous weight lifted off of my shoulders, knowing I would no longer have to feel the bumps of the bones as they scraped against the knife, or see the glossy, lifeless eyes staring back at me. (more…)

The Joy (and Responsibility) of Moving from Camper to Staff

By Julia Danielsen, VI Form

The Joy (and Responsibility) of Moving from Camper to Staff

For six years, arriving at Camp Coniston in New Hampshire meant pure excitement, but this year was different. I was now part of the staff. While still excited, I also felt proud, nervous, and apprehensive because I would be teaching Ecology and Swimming. I knew that I would not have a problem sharing my love of nature with the campers, but how was I going to plan and teach several compelling Ecology classes? I was in what was formerly my safe haven, now nervous because of these new added responsibilities. (more…)

Travel Daily Digests & Thoughts: Haiti Partnership

By Will Stack, Kerrie Verbeek, Will Allen, Jack Thalmann, Cricket Dotson, and Henry Hirschfeld

Travel Daily Digests & Thoughts: Haiti Partnership

Day 1:  Friday, January 13, 2017

By Will Stack

Today has been long. Everything has just been blurred together; it’s a miracle I didn’t lose my passport.  When we finally landed in Haiti, we were all ready to collapse.  However, we had a little trouble at the car rental place.  Apparently, despite our arranged reservation, they did not have two cars to rent us. “It’s Haiti” seemed to be the excuse used when Pere Reginald, our partner priest who hosted us during our visit, asked why they did not have our cars.  This was just the start of a very exciting afternoon on the roads of Port-Au-Prince.  We had to drive from the airport in Port-Au-Prince to Mathieu, the town where we would be staying for our first evening, and along the way, we experienced one of the most eye-opening parts of Haitian culture, Haitian driving. (more…)

Namaste from Karanjo

By Yusra Syed, V Form

Namaste from Karanjo

My trip to India this past summer was the best decision I have ever made in my teenage years. As a youth ambassador to several charities and organizations that are actively working in India, I heard about Ekal Vidyalaya and the wonderful work that they were doing in the rural tribal areas of India. Last summer, I visited urban areas of India with other organizations and traveled with my family; however, I had never seen remote areas of India and was curious about the work Ekal does for the people living there. Their presence in the the less targeted areas of India sparked my interest, as I understood some of the challenges that India faced as a country.

Some of the challenges that India faces include:  screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-2-11-02-pm

  • Lack of Education
  • Urbanization
  • Limited access to Healthcare
  • Gender Roles
  • Lack of Sanitation
  • Water Scarcity
  • Financial Transparency

(more…)

The Dalai Lama: A Spiritual Leader Above a Political One

By Lucy Cao, V Form

The Dalai Lama: A Spiritual Leader Above a Political One

China and Tibet have a long history of relations. Beginning with the Manchu rule of Tibet, conflicts and disputes between the Chinese and Tibetans have persisted. Unwilling to compromise with a centralized ruler, Tibet seized the opportunity to claim itself as an independent state after the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty. However, following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Tibet became an integral part of China. From then on, numerous riots and uprisings for Tibetan independence and the preservation of Tibetan traditional culture and religion have taken place (Goldstein 84-86).

One aspect of the complex relationship between China and Tibet has some connection with the Dalai Lama selection process. As a tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, Finding the reincarnation of the Dalai (more…)