The Rights and Wrongs of Gateway Leadership, 63 Miles Away from Home

Riley Oehring 

Over the summer, I was really looking forward to alone time. My days at school are crammed with other people being around me, so when I found out I would be going on a trip with all the leadership students in the Performing Arts department, it was less than ideal. We would be staying at a YMCA resort in Granby, Colorado. Driving a whopping three and a half hours in a small bus filled with the band, choir, and theatre students. And let me tell you, some of those kids can sing forever if they wanted to.

Upon arrival, we were all bustling bees, excited to leave the cramped bus. As we filtered through the door, we were given room keys along with room assignments (as if they couldn’t trust a bunch of teenagers to be responsible in hotel rooms on their own) and we were sent to figure out bed situations and settle in before dinner. The rest of the night was filled with mediocre activities, the participants running on naps from the bus and the Red Bull from five hours ago.

Day two was much more exciting in terms of tears and broken friendships. After a scavenger hunt in the blistering sun, tempers were high and voices were loud as a fight between two girls broke out. One of them being me. I didn’t choose not to fight back as I was too shocked by what had come from my – assumed – friend’s mouth that day and she walked away before any further initiation could start.

The rest of the trip was full of tension and avoidance, the entire group teetering on the edge of curiosity about the next drama installment. But everyone was left on the cliffhanger as the two of us didn’t speak for the remaining 29 hours until we returned home.

There are silver linings to everything though. I learned a lot on that trip. Leaders need to learn how to regulate and resolve problems if it includes themselves or from an outside perspective on their respective groups. Learning to balance the personal and management aspects of different groups of different people with different personalities. And a good leader can do all of it, and do it well.