With an outrageously early wake-up call of 3:45am, four intrepid students and a chaperone embarked on a cross-country journey to the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS) conference at Miss Edgar’s and Miss Cramp’s School (ECS) in Montreal, Quebec in late April. Once there, they met fellow student leaders from across the country, participated in interactive pod sessions and workshops, volunteered in the community, listened to motivational speakers and developed their leadership skills. There was also an exciting mystery clue activity around the historic city, supper in Old Montreal, and a banquet dinner and dance in a beautiful art gallery.
It is important for the students to understand that everyone is a leader in their own way. Students are constantly changing, adapting and growing and through the workshops and activities, they were challenged to “Find Your Place in the Crowd” by exploring their strengths and challenges, while developing their personal leadership style.
Below, Sena Youn reflects on her time at ECS.
Near the end of April I was very fortunate to have been chosen as a SMUS representative for the 2015 CAIS Conference in Montreal. The theme was to “Find Your Place in the Crowd: Explore, Climb, Succeed”. The conference was designed to prepare participants for senior leadership roles in independent schools. Strong schools can inspire strong students who can make a difference in the world. CAIS supports the learning and development of such students by fueling creativity from collaborating with students from all over Canada.
We were given the opportunity to address issues within our community and discuss long-term sustainable innovations. From the rowdy cheers with my pod group to the thought provoking sessions, I had chances to willingly step out of my comfort zone and speak out to the crowd without having to worry about feeling judged. Our pod squads were named President Plum, Governor Green, Officer Orange and Marshal Maroon. After reading the name of my group, I had no idea what kind of experience I was up for. The amiable students from the host school created a welcoming and open atmosphere where making friends was easy. The guest speakers, including Mark Kelly and Marc Garneau impressed everyone with their passion for their professions. Furthermore, my host family was extremely friendly and I had a very comfortable stay. The itinerary was detailed and extensive so everyone was exhausted by the end of each day. During the conference, I made friends with students from all over Canada and created amazing life-long memories in Montreal. Next year, SMUS will be hosting one of Canada’s first Leadership Diversity Conferences and I am extremely excited to be a part of this legacy.