Correcting Our Course in Student Development

Adjusting the Sails

Correcting Our Course in Student Development

Several years ago, some team members and I at Growing Leaders were training students and youth workers in Cairo, Egypt. While there, we had the privilege of hopping in a small boat and sailing on the Nile River. It was surreal. Up one direction was a Chili’s restaurant and toward the other, the Pyramids and the Sphinx.

That day was windy. The sailor was kept quite busy running up and down the boat, insuring the sails would take us where we wanted to go and not hit the shoreline. It was like an aerobic workout. He moved non-stop so we could enjoy the view.

May I tell you what he didn’t do?

He never got angry at the wind, shaking his fist at it because it wouldn’t cooperate with his efforts. He never gave up either, sitting down and thinking it was no use trying to sail on an adversarial day. Nope. He just kept working to adjust the sails so that wherever the wind blew—it would carry us toward the right destination.

What a picture for educators.

Our culture is like the wind. It’s always moving, ever volatile, constantly changing. Too often, teachers, coaches, principals and deans get angry or give up, believing it’s impossible to work with current conditions. Students’ attention spans are just too short. They are disrespectful. They don’t want to sit in a classroom. Their parents are over-bearing. They are glued to their cell phones. They don’t want to work hard.

The truth is—while these may be true, we’ve simply got to harness the wind to take us where we need to go in our schools, or athletic teams and organizations.

Adjusting the Sails—Making the Right Course Corrections

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This is precisely our topic at this year’s National Leadership Forum, held in Atlanta on June 19-20th.  We will be hosting conversations with some of the best leaders on this issue, including:

  • Diane Dean, co-author of Generation on a Tightrope. She will unveil current research on what helps and hinders student engagement on the campus.
  • Rishi Desai, a program director for the Khan Academy. He will talk about the power of creating new learning patterns within students.
  • Zach Hunter, author, activist and college student. He will talk about what mobilizes this generation of students to grow and act.
  • Charlie Ward and Mark Richt, former Heisman Trophy winner & bowl winning college football coach who’ll reminisce on what they’ve learned about mentoring athletes.
  • Larry Mohl and Terry Barber, best-selling authors and CEO of Jamstir and Performance Inspired. They’ll talk about the “gamification” of learning.

I’m excited to share the platform with these amazing speakers.  During my sessions, I will cover what adjustments are needed to prepare our students to lead the way into the future.

The 2014 National Leadership Forum will help you to:

  • Transform languishing students into motivated leaders of themselves and others
  • Spark new levels of creativity in class to engage today’s “touch-screen” students.
  • Rekindle ambition and passion in your students to pursue their full potential.
  • Build students who make wise decisions that move them toward graduation.

We’d love you to join us and be part of the conversation. This Forum promises to be the best one we’ve ever hosted.

June 19-20, 2014

Georgia Tech Conference Center, Atlanta

Last day to get Early Bird Pricing: February 28th


See you there!


Highlights from 2013 National Leadership Forum

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Correcting Our Course in Student Development