This year’s Called to Lead annual dinner on April 28th marked the end of another successful year for the program. Under the leadership of Reverend Tracy Sadd and Stacey Zimmerman, students within the program used online tools, projects, and community presentations to help bring out the natural leadership talents from within themselves. The 22 seniors being honored at this dinner had to attain 1,000 points by attending sponsored events and complete a senior capstone course to complete the Called to Lead program.
Called to Lead has been a significant part of campus life here at Elizabethtown College since it began, and this year has been no exception. Students who participate in the program take part in on-campus events in order to earn points towards completing the program, and also attend weekly mentoring and presentation sessions designed to enrich the leadership ability that every student has.
The program was put in place here on campus to try and help students enhance their leadership abilities through their own efforts rather than attending a traditional leadership seminar. To quote Reverend Tracy Sadd, who participated in the program this year, “We teach many different kinds of leadership models and theory. Some students are called to be servant leaders, some students feel challenged by social change models of leadership, and still others resonate with situational leadership.” The Called to Lead program is designed to allow students to achieve success through the pursuit of their own particular type of leadership. Regardless of what type of leader a student is, Called to Lead allows them to attend the events and presentations that they feel will best add to their leadership in that area or explore an entirely new area of leadership.
Sophomore student Samantha Eisdorfer, a participant in the Called to Lead program, offered her thoughts on the program; “Called to Lead is what you make of it for yourself. There is no pressure from the program or its developers, but Called to Lead offers a lot of enriching experiences and if you apply a little bit of pressure to yourself… you can really grow.”
Since its creation, Called to Lead has been doing exactly that. This year’s program has evolved significantly to include new tools for students in order to encourage them to make the program even more beneficial for themselves and those around them. Most recently, the addition of the StrengthsFinder inventory to the program has proven highly beneficial to the students in Called to Lead by allowing them to get a better idea of where their leadership strength lies. It’s up to the student to decide to focus on their strong points or to develop an entirely new area of leadership ability.
Zimmerman, the current director of the Called to Lead, was very clear on how she thought these new additions would help students. “In my opinion, success comes from self-awareness and personal development,” she said. “When a student has a clear sense of the purpose of their own life, as well as how their unique talents will serve that purpose, then I consider that a success.”
In continuing their philosophy of allowing students to grow and develop at their own pace, the Called to Lead program operates on a points system rather than making students attend certain events. Under the system, students need only attend sponsored events on campus, which are worth a certain amount of points toward their overall completion of the program. This flexibility means that students from any major have the ability to participate in the program by picking and choosing which events they would like to attend.
Sara Bates, class of 2018, shared why she thinks the program is so beneficial to students; “Leadership is quickly becoming an invaluable job quality that employers are seeking in job candidates. There is a growing demand for these skills in many professional fields, not just in business related professions.”
Called to Lead will be available on campus next year to any students wishing to participate. Future offerings of the program include student-led book clubs and leadership sessions. For now, the year-end dinner held by the program marks the end of another successful program for this year, as well as the beginning of working toward making next year’s program even more successful.