Earlier this month, John and I had the privilege of speaking to- and more importantly, with -100 high school students at the North Dakota Leadership Seminar, or NDLS. We invite you to check out our experiences and be inspired by the young people of a state that is often overlooked, our home state! As John said, “Look out world, ND is coming for you!”
A Bit of Background
Each year, nearly 100 high schools from around the state nominate one sophomore student to attend NDLS, a weekend camp held at the University of Mary campus in Bismarck, ND. NDLS is designed to get the students away from familiar settings and social expectations, and into an energy-packed weekend where they are empowered by self-worth and their individual strengths to grow as leaders and to develop a strong community responsibility.
Building Bridges – Not Just a Metaphor
The weekend is full of diverse activities designed to provide an opportunity for a variety of leadership skills. The event John and I witnessed was a bridge building activity, where the students divided into 15 teams, designed, then built a bridge out of newspaper and masking tape. The requirements? A pitcher of water had to pass under it and sit on top of it for 5 seconds. The strongest bridge built that day could hold 20 reams of paper – that’s 100lbs!
Being Inspired While Inspiring Others
During our presentation, John and I spent the first ten minutes introducing the students to Bogobrush and sharing our own journeys from high school to present. We told them that for us, leadership is not a product of a job or role, but a lifestyle to be challenged intellectually, physically, and geographically, to question social social norms, and be true to what feels right to you. The remaining 45 minutes of our presentation we opened up for questions. We were amazed at the level of thought these students had about business, and we had a blast talking with them.
“Almost Like a Different Universe”
Following our presentation, we participated in a pep rally of sorts with all the students. We did cheers about beans and hiking in the woods, and even “made” a thunderstorm inside. Later that night was their dance, which was movie themed, so they all were to dress up like their favorite movie character – hence the costumes.
As we were driving back to our hometown, we reflected on the day. John commented it was “almost like a different universe.” And it was. Every student was fully engaged, and totally adapted to being outside of their comfort zones.
Congrats, NDLS. We are proud and honored to have been part of it.