Spark Expanded


For the past three semesters, I have been blessed to coordinate the Spark Leadership Series at CMU.

Over the summer, Natalie, another one of the coordinators, and I collaborated with the LI Staff to revisit the the Alpha Leadership program’s curriculum and projected learning outcomes in hopes to create a more challenging and intensive but still baseline leadership experience.

We stripped Alpha of it’s fat, replaced a lot of old material with new, and called it Spark.  After one semester, it was evident how tremendously the program had evolved.

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But it wasn’t done yet.  After it’s first semester, Spark doubled in size, promising two session offerings instead of one for the Spring semester.  This meant double the facilitation staff, double the coordinator staff, a new location and a new night.

I shared the Wednesday night session with Jordyn, one of the new coordinators.  Our facilitation staff was 16 volunteers strong; all of which were trained by the coordination team and the Graduate Assistant, Vince.

I tried my best to capture what Spark is like for participants each Wednesday night in the videos below.

This semester was such an awesome learning experience for me and Spark.

My belief was vigorously tested when registration suggested we might have to cancel one of the sessions.  With Four days until the start date, we only saw 12 participant applications for our Wednesday night offering; for this program to work, we needed at least 60.

Right when I was ready to throw in the towel, registration soared, and we had a number of people show up on the spot to our Wednesday night offering; more than enough for the program!

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The audience we worked with in the Towers session was unlike any Spark or Alpha experience I have ever witnessed.  For a lot of these students, it was their first time ever participating in a Leadership Institute program. The material was new to them, which made it visibly more enjoyable and exciting for them; the energy in the towers session was so real and so positive it was impossible to ignore.

Our facilitation staff was mighty adaptable.  With the new location and the number of participants, a lot of the curricula changed as we went.  For many facilitators, this would be a daunting task; but not ours.  They handled each session with absolute poise and enthusiasm; our participants don’t even know how lucky they are.

It was a huge, wildly successful semester for Spark.  I cannot wait for the Fall so we can do it all over again!


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