Changing Lives and Strengthening Connections: How Youth Leadership Organizations Band Together to See Students Succeed
When people put their heads together to achieve a goal, amazing things can happen. The same can be said for organizations that work together to better the community. Maryland Leadership Workshops partners with some incredible organizations who also strive to see student leaders discover their potential, refine their skills, and work together to achieve their goals, while making a difference in their schools and communities.
Two organizations that have helped us train and connect with more students across the state of Maryland and improve the MLW experience for our staff and delegates are the Maryland Association of Student Councils (MASC) and the Charles County Association of Student Councils (CCASC). With collaborative opportunities and their support, MLW shares our magic with more people while offering students different leadership perspectives and real-life experiences.
The Maryland Association of Student Councils (MASC)
MASC—a peer-led, hands-on leadership organization—teaches students about important skills such as organization, responsibility, communication, time management, decision making, and professional writing, while focusing on issues including mental health, cultural sensitivity, biases, and more. Offering workshops, round-table discussions, town halls, and conferences, MASC teaches students how to navigate difficult or uncomfortable situations that they might experience as community leaders.
MASC has supported MLW from the very beginning, seeing as MLW was originally known as MASC Leadership Workshops. “The purpose was ‘promoting leadership in student councils’ and utilizing peer facilitators,” shares Karen Crawford, MASC assistant executive director and longtime MLW advocate and supporter. “In 1972, when the sponsorship of MASC went to the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), MASC Leadership Workshops became an independent entity known as Maryland Leadership Workshops.”
But MASC’s support did not stop there. Ever since the first annual summer conference in 1956, MASC has supported MLW by sending its four elected officers to MLW summer programs, spreading our mission, and networking with our delegates and staff. “Students have different needs and engaging in MASC and MLW programs exposes them to unique view points and experiences,” shares Nicete Moodie, MASC executive director and alumnus and past regional president of Charles County. “It’s important to show our students how two organizations can effectively support one another. Many of our students go on to work with MLW and we always love having MLW at our conferences.”
MASC students are encouraged to attend MLW programs, while many MLW staff members present at MASC’s conferences or help train student leaders at MASC events. “From the modeled leadership and workshop content to the student-led discussions, the mutual support we share is invaluable,” states Karen. “This partnership allows MASC and MLW to influence and assist students to be the best they can be in order to inspire the next generation of student leaders,” adds Nicete.
The Charles County Association of Student Councils (CCASC)
Another organization that is heavily involved with MASC and MLW is the Charles County Association of Student Councils (CCASC). In fact, CCASC learned about MLW through its membership with MASC. “Our students have attended workshops and summer programs with MLW every year that we have been a member of MASC,” states Gary Winsett, CCASC regional advisor. “Many students in Charles County have gone on to serve as staff for MLW.”
Having assisted as CCASC regional advisor for 12 years, Gary oversees and coordinates all efforts that involve the student governments from across Charles County—including all middle school and high school student councils. After witnessing how vital MLW workshops are to the growth of student leaders, Gary presented the idea to the Charles County School Board to send one student from every middle and high school to MLW. “We are blessed with a supportive school board when it comes to student leaders. They have always been supportive of our efforts, attending student led events, and encouraging the student voice,” he states. “When I suggested my idea to send students to MLW, they were on board from the beginning.”
Depending on an institution’s selection preference, one CCASC student from each school attends an MLW program each year. “I reserve a spot for our student member of the Board of Education as a CCASC representative to strengthen their leadership and communication abilities when working with our Board of Education members,” states Gary. “Students take these leadership skills and use them as they mature into adult leaders. They grow in self-awareness, self-confidence, as well as collaboration and compassion with others.”
Partnerships that Inspire Powerful Change
You can learn more about MLW and its one-of-a-kind partners at mlw.org/partnerships.
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