I sometimes think back to one of the first questions I was ever asked right before joining the Snyder Leadership Legacy Fellows: “Which of Coach Snyder’s 16 goals to success do you think is most important?”
I contemplated the question while bouncing back and forth off of some of my favorites (unity, never give up, etc.) and wished somehow they could be combined into one. That’s when it hit me. What is this organization all about? Leadership. Leadership, to me, embodies so many of the other goals. To possess great leadership skills is to possess a passion for the other goals to success as well. Not only is having a passion for them necessary, but being able to live them out. Leadership is unity, it is showing great effort, it’s definitely responsibility, and to me, it is the rest of the 16 goals. I wanted to be a part of the Snyder Leadership Legacy Fellows because I realized how important leadership skills are to have and really wanted to grow and develop those skills. This organization really has taught me so much about leadership. I’ve gotten the opportunity to grow close with other leaders, to attend workshops that help strengthen those skills, to coach, to be coached, and more.
This semester, I am student teaching in a sixth grade classroom and I use the leadership skills I have gained through this organization everyday. I remember our first retreat together as Snyder Fellows; we all went to a practice field early in the morning and split into teams. As teams, we worked through obstacles and competed in different activities. The only way to succeed in any of the activities was to work together as a team. It really showed me the power of teamwork. I reflect on this memory each day as I work in the school. As teachers, we all work together as teams to get things accomplished and to meet the students’ needs. I realize that we are our best selves as a team – united. It’s so important to me to exhibit these skills as a student teacher. I aim to inspire the kids to be leaders just as the Snyder Leadership Legacy Fellows has inspired me.
Another important impact this organization has had on me was the opportunity to coach a sports team. I coached third and fourth grade soccer. I had never coached anything before and the last time I played soccer was when I was in elementary school myself. It dared me to go outside of my comfort zone. It helped me relate to my students at school when it was their turn to try something new. I remembered how I felt my first days of coaching soccer and how I managed it: I utilized the people around me to help me and guide me. I got help from those people who maybe knew a little more than I did and realized that that is ok. Part of being a great leader is also the ability to be led and to learn from others. I relay my experience to the students in hopes that that will give them the courage to persevere, to allow themselves to learn from others, to try something new, and to learn something new. This experience also helped my communication skills with my co-coaches, parents, and team. Communicating with them was crucial in order to run a successful team. I use these skills to help me while I teach as I am called to communicate information to the students, to my coworkers, and to parents. This organization is the real deal; you will use these skills in your everyday life.
Our world needs great leaders. It needs great leaders that possess the 16 goals that Coach Bill Snyder talks about and exhibits. Being a leader is more than just being able to command a group of people; being a leader is being able to be selfless, to inspire others, and to be able to understand and adapt to a growing world. I have truly found the importance that this organization has played in my life and I am forever grateful.