Did you know that the success or failure of new students on campus lies in the hands of your Orientation Leaders?
It’s true. And how they are prepared for their responsibilities will determine if those new students are successful during their collegiate career.
When I arrived on campus, my college orientation consisted of getting handed a Student Handbook with an envelope of coupons from local vendors and about a 30-minute session of going around a circle with 10 new students talking about ourselves. “Assessment” was our ‘orientation leader’ asking us if we met any new people. He was no more equipped to help me succeed as a student than I was as a timid first-year.
The training that you provide for your Orientation Leaders needs to be intentional. It should allow them to bond through fun and invigorating exercises that will not only further develop their leadership skills but enable them to provide more effective representation to new students and their families.
New Student/First Year Experience programs are pivotal in defining the direction new students choose when arriving on campus. Too many times orientation leaders are brought into situations they are not prepared for and they end up giving the wrong information or advice to new students. I had the privilege of spending a day working with the Orientation Leaders at Spelman College in Atlanta helping them to prepare for the next nine days that they were going to spend with their group of new students. Nine days! That’s a long time and the potential for things to not go as hoped is great.
It is important for your Orientation Leaders to help their group of new and transfer students succeed in going from orientation to graduation. With that, here are some areas I suggest you include in your training for Orientation Leaders:
- Sessions that develop your Orientation Leaders’ facilitation skills
- Solutions to handle drama, conflict, and bullying
- Provide personal growth through introspection
- Bust the biases students bring to leadership roles, helping them to understand diversity in its various forms
- Demonstrate how listening and communication skills turn your Orientation Leaders into mentors
- Discover and share the importance personal leadership styles, including their impact on interactions and abilities development
What are some of the things your school includes? Do you have specific goals that you go into Orientation Leader training hoping to achieve? Any other ideas you want to share? Please use the comment space below to create a dialog to improve every campus’ Orientation Leader training!
March 16th, 2011
I had the pleasure and honor of presenting at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy a few years ago. After my program, I was treated to a tour of the campus by 2nd Class Cadet Victoria “Tory” Stevens. The Academy has a beautiful campus with a chapel, museum, quarters, and a deck within the collegiate equivalent of the administration building. They have some neat and moving traditions, including saluting the flag and the Coast Guard officers on the deck. There was a rotunda in the administration building and around it were the words of the cadet honor code, “He who reveres honor, honors duty.”
As Tory was showing me around campus, she occasionally would bend down and pick up a scrap of paper. This happened four or five times when curiosity got the better of me. I asked her if this was one of their traditions, part of the honors code, an expectation that cadets would pick up litter to keep the grounds clean. “No”, she told me, “it’s a habit of mine. I figure that if I pick up at least one piece of garbage every day, then there will be 365 less pieces of garbage in the world each year.”
Wow! What a great habit to have! What a wonderful example of a commitment to excellence. Are you not proud that this fine young woman is defending our country? She has developed a winning habit: a commitment to serving others. By the way, I recently learned from someone at the academy that Tory did graduate, served her initial two year commitment, and re-upped for a second tour. I know I am proud to have been in her presence even for just a short time.
This is a great example of how you can create winning habits in your life by doing the simple things well and consistently. When you have mastered the little things, then you will have confidence to take on the bigger things. As you experience success developing winning habits, you will find that you will have victories in work, school, and all aspects of your life. Winning will become a habit in itself for you and you will find joy in the things you are able to accomplish.
You are a winner just waiting to happen!
Dave – Building Leaders Through Service®
February 17th, 2011
The impetus for this blog post comes from a quote that has hung on my office wall for 25 years.
“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”- Johnann Wolfgang von Goethe:
What Goethe is telling us is that whatever it may be that we desire, wish for, or dream to have real in our lives, we should go for it! There is so much in life that we all want to make happen and so few people seem to really reach for their dreams.
Why is this? I think it is because the accomplishment of the dream seems to be a far off thing, and many times it is. That can be discouraging when we want it now. Perhaps we do not see the steps that we need to take to get from here to there. That’s OK. There is only one step you really need to be concerned with… the first one!
Once you take that step, it is amazing how quickly the next one becomes apparent. And then the next, and so forth, until we find ourselves not just taking steps, but sprinting towards our dream.
“But Dave, the moment is not perfect right now, maybe I should wait.”
Lots of people wait a lifetime to take that first step, and then they never do. There are no perfect moments, just get started. Try something. Be bold! What is the worst thing that could happen to you? A little embarrassment? A slight set-back on the way to your dream? Hey, I’ll take all of the setbacks that come along. Because it means that I am doing something! That’s the power of boldness.
My career as a speaker happened because I was willing to begin. My monthly newsletter happened 50 editions ago because I began. I had put a spot on my website where someone could sign up for the newsletter. It was on my website for a year and a half and nothing happened, so I didn’t write the newsletter. Then, one day, it happened. Someone subscribed!
What was I going to do? I didn’t want to do a newsletter for just one person, but now I was committed. So, I sent the first edition to everyone in my email address book, along with my actual subscriber, 700 in all. I apologized in advance for the spam and promised to unsubscribe anyone who did not want to be on the list. Then, I waited.
The next day, I had about 50 emails regarding my newsletter. “Well”, I thought, “50 unsubscribes out of 700 isn’t bad.” Then I started opening the emails. Most of them weren’t unsubscribes at all, but emails congratulating me on the newsletter and messages telling me how much they loved receiving it! How cool! There were 47 “attaboys” and only three unsubscribes!
And it has been a real joy to write ever since. My newsletter list is now over 2,200 people strong, it has gotten me speaking engagements, helped me reconnect with friends and colleagues, and given me material for a new book. All because I took a chance and was willing to begin.
How does this apply for college students? In every possible way. You are in that beginning point during your collegiate years. This may be the foundational time for you to go after the dreams that you have. Just start. Facebook inventor Mark Zuckerberg was a college sophomore when he created the biggest social media site ever. And it was only intended to be a vehicle for Harvard students! Then it expanded, but was still only available if you had an “edu” email address. And now? Wow! Little steps can lead to big things. The scale is only limited by the size of your dream.
What are you waiting for? It’s time to begin!
“We can change the world…
One life at a time.”
America’s Student Leadership Trainer (sm)
Creator and Facilitator of Building Leaders Through Service®
February 10th, 2011
“Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I had the honor of working with over 100 women at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, NJ on January 17, 2011, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It was the third annual leadership conference for the students and the focus was on community service. It was a fun and exciting event and the enthusiasm of the women warmed up a cold January day!
My part of the program was to present “Building Leaders Through Service®” as an interactive, two-hour leadership seminar in the morning. My approach was to get the women thinking about servant leadership and what role(s) it could play in their lives. I presented personal stories and encounters with everyday servant leaders such as a U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadet, my daughters, and students that I have worked with. We talked about great servant leaders in history such as Dr. King, Mother Theresa, and Mahatma Ghandi.
I also shared eight qualities of servant leaders such as putting others above self, instilling a lifetime commitment to service in others, and serving by helping others achieve their dreams. In the last case I shared the sacrifice of a person close to me, my wonderful wife, who has sacrificed her own career goals in order to support my dream of being a professional speaker. That drew a loud “Awwww” from the audience—well deserved for my best friend in the world! We finished with the “Leadership Circle” where the women joined hands and shared their commitments to serve others, and then it was off to a fabulous lunch!
The afternoon continued with the students working on community service projects, all staged on campus. Students were randomly assigned via a colored sticker on their program folder. Some made soup for the Ocean County Coalition for Women—chopping vegetables, peeling potatoes, filling pots—while others made crafts to be given to the local Meals on Wheels program. The crafts would be added to the meal packages to brighten the day of the recipients.
This was a hugely successful program and one that could be duplicated on your campus. Everything took place at the school. My program was in the gymnasium, with theatre-style seating and plenty of room for the interactives. There was also room to set up the tables and buffet for lunch. The service agencies came to the school and the kitchen in the gymnasium and a nearby residence hall were used for preparing and cooking the soup, while a large downstairs area served as the craft center. There were no transportation issues for the students, or additional liability, since they stayed on campus. And since everything was planned for indoors, weather was not an issue.
Do you have questions about this program? Or comments to share? Would you like to conduct a program like this on your campus? Perhaps your school does a Day of Service program already. Please share your thoughts and ideas in the space below!
“We can change the world… By serving… One life at a time.”
Dave Kelly, creator and facilitator of Building Leaders Through Service®
February 3rd, 2011
Looking for ways for individual students, or volunteer groups to get involved in serving the community in and around your campus? Here’s a list of reputable organizations – big and small – to help you start your search. Many of these are national organizations but have thriving local chapters or offices that are impacting live and communities near you. This list is not intended to be all-inclusive nor is any listing an implied endorsement. Carefully research any organization you choose to work with at the Better Business Bureau for Charities and Donors or through local sources such as newspapers and the public library. You’ll want to determine if the organization is having positive impact within your community and that your involvement will reflect well on you, your organization and your school. Please let me know of any worthy additions to this list.
In a more general sense, if nothing above suits you here are some general categaory to tickle your imagination. If it’s an area that interests you check the local newspaper, yellow pages or do an internet search to see if there’s a volunteer or community service opportunity in your area.
- Animal shelters
- Childrens’ hospitals
- Public elementary schools
- ESL programs
- Famine relief programs
- Homeless programs
- Literacy councils
- Police athletic leagues
- Veterans’ organizations
And finally, here are some organizations that your club or campus organization can partner with to do service:
I hope this helps and once again, let me know of any worthy additions to this list.
Dave ‘Gonzo’ Kelly
America’s Student Leadership Trainer™
Building Leaders Through Service™
January 4th, 2011
Recently I was approached with a question similar to the one following and I thought that others who are coordinating orientation events may find it interesting and helpful.
“What ideas do you have for a service project during New Student Orientation that would work with 1,200 or more students in a rural community and on a tight budget?”
Getting students involved in community service during orientation is a great idea; however, coordinating a single project that gets 1,200 involved at one time is a challenge. You want to ensure everyone participates and gets their hands “dirty,” but how do you engage that many people at one time?
I suggest trying a variety of projects and activities that get everyone involved at once and on the same day, which will give you a better chance of confirming everyone participates. You could erect a number of “stations” at the main orientation site that explains the different projects and includes instructions, supplies/materials as well as project mentors. For instance, one station could include everything students need to make cards out of construction paper for kids in the hospital, troops overseas or residents of nursing homes. You would need the paper and other supplies such as scissors, glue, markers and other decorative items. At another station students could make Play-Doh or silly putty for kids in head start and daycares using flour, water, salt and food coloring. Other stations could involve students making flowers for hospital trays and assembling snack bags for the USO.
That will get some of the students involved, but not all. Other stations could sign up new students to involve them in a day of service with local elderly or otherwise physically unable members of the community. You can “advertise” that you will have students available on a given day to do yard work, clean out garages, etc., anything other than climbing on roofs (I have seen that happen!). This gives you an opportunity to involve students outdoors in a number of activities and connect the school to the local community.
Along this vein, you could also see if various agencies, such as the Boys and Girls Club, need some outdoor work done or even if the city has some “eyesore” properties they would like to clean up. Check with other local governmental, civic groups, homeless shelters, non-profits, etc. to see what types of needs your students could meet.
I think trying a variety of activities that could be done on one day will be your best course of action as opposed to try and get 1,200 students doing a singular activities. The most I have ever tried to involve on one day is 225 students with 15 to 20 different activities and projects. It took some serious coordination, but everyone got involved and had the opportunity to be of service. Get some strong student coordinators and let this be a leadership development opportunity for them. Good luck!
Dave ‘Gonzo’ Kelly
America’s Student Leadership Trainer™
Building Leaders Through Service™
December 28th, 2010
Leah Cassellia, director of Student Union and Involvement Services at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, asked me to come back to her campus again. I spoke there in May 2008, and it was so cool to hear she wanted to bring me back! When she contacted me, she sent me a couple of pages of comments that were made about my last program and I was blown away! I did a two-hour session first thing in the morning for advisors and they loved it, and the student leadership training in the afternoon was also a huge hit!
The question is: how was this year’s program different? Much of the direction I gave them previously, they took to heart. For example, they have monthly club advisor meetings, regular programming updates and they also do a program in the fall on recruitment tabling called “The Nitty Gritty.”
This time around I was able to use my time in some new and interesting ways, with team building, practical interactions and leadership material. This is the stuff that the students said they wanted more of, along with the membership retention, fun and exciting meetings, and other campus org topics that I typically do.
Flexibility is a great thing. That’s one thing I love about this job: the ability and opportunity to remake my programs or create something new based on comments I’ve received and the successes of each program. My servant leadership material under the banner of Building Leaders Through Service™ came about because of requests from Valencia Community College and the University of Akron. My program for advisors also came about as the result of a school’s request. I also love it when I find that a school has successfully implemented some or all of my tried-and-true ideas.
What bright ideas do you have? Not just for me, but to share with others. Use the comment section below and share some of your best training programs, leadership efforts and co-curricular practices. You might inspire something new in higher education!
Dave ‘Gonzo’ Kelly
America’s Student Leadership Trainer™
Building Leaders Through Service™
December 21st, 2010
Brian Davis is one of my newest heroes. He should be one of yours, too.
“I’m sorry, Dave, who?”
Brian Davis is a golfer on the PGA Tour. On Sunday, April 18, 2010, he was playing at the Verizon Heritage event in South Carolina and gave up a possible win—his first on the tour— when he called a penalty on himself, in a playoff, for disturbing a stray weed on his back swing. [Hitting any material during your back swing constitutes a two-swing penalty].
Davis called the penalty on himself, conceding the victory to Jim Furyk who walked away with $1.03 million for the win. Davis did take second and got a $615,000 check, but more importantly he can hold his head up high knowing he did the honorable thing, the expected thing and the right thing.
Would you have done the same in that situation?
Have you ever been faced with a circumstance in which you could get away with something because no one would know, and you took it? I know someone who regularly takes advantage of items misplaced on retail shelves and then forces the clerks to give the lower price. I am even aware of this individual actually switching price labels on products and they’re proud of this!
When I was a mortgage broker there were many temptations to cut corners in order to close loans. I always felt that no loan was worth jeopardizing my career for so I wouldn’t do it. But, the temptations were there. I had people offer me money to do whatever it took to get their loan complete. I had customers submit false tax returns, W-2s and pay stubs. I even saw appraisals covered with correction fluid!
Do you have an integrity moment of truth? A “Brian Davis” moment? Please send them to me and I will use them in future blog entries. It can be those moments when you pointed out to a server that they missed charging you for something, when you returned that extra $10 given to you with your change by a cashier, or a time when you told an employer or a client that you would not accede to their request to do something unethical.
There are always going to be people who will try to cut corners in order to get a leg up. Don’t be one of them! If you work from a position of integrity, you will always make the right decision.
And, like Brian Davis, you will be a richer person as a result!
I want to write about YOU in a future blog post! Tell me how you have overcome obstacles, achieved goals or surpassed the expectations of others—especially those who may have underestimated you. If you want to tell me your story, but don’t want me to publish your name, I can do that too!
Dave ‘Gonzo’ Kelly
America’s Student Leadership Trainer™
Building Leaders Through Service™
December 14th, 2010
Others cannot set goals for you, only you can – “Goals” set by others are really “quotas”
“I am in excellent, physical condition.”
So goes one of the affirmations that I tell myself on a daily basis. Yet, I must admit, it is not true—not now, anyway. Affirmations do not have to be true in the here-and-now to be valid, but they do have to be something we commit to making true in the future.
I have had people ask me how can I be a “motivational” speaker and not be in peak physical condition? Well, after all, there is a niche for everything and everyone! Actually, changing my physical status has not been a goal for me, until now. I believe in speaking things into being and also sharing your goals and dreams with others. By writing this post, I am committing myself to making some positive changes that you should be able to see very soon.
Why not before now? Because it was not a priority for me. It has not been a goal that I could or would truthfully pursue.
Goals versus Quotas
I have had plenty of people tell me that I should do something. I may have even lost speaking opportunities as a result. The thing to understand, though, is that no one—not a boss, not a loved one, not a client—can ever set a “goal” for you. If they attempt to do so, they are actually making a “quota” for you. A quota is someone else’s expectation of what your performance should be.
Are you in sales? Your boss is not giving you a monthly, quarterly, or annual goal. You are getting a quota.
Does your spouse or partner want you to make a certain amount of money? It’s not a goal, it’s a quota.
Does your child want you to play for so many minutes before you do something else? If you do not buy into it, commit to it, and believe in it, then it is a quota. And quotas are not any fun.
Ever hear of anyone offering a “Quota Achievement Program”? Probably not. How about sitting down to do some ‘quota setting”. Oooooo, how fun (he said sarcastically).
And by the way, I will stack up my record of achieving my goals against anyone. I know how to do it and I always succeed.
So, here I go! Stay tuned and let’s see how things look come New Year’s Eve. Along the way, I will share with you how I am progressing on my journey.
In the meantime, don’t get discouraged by other people’s “quotas”. Get energized by your goals!
So my questions to you: Are pursuing your own goals – or filling quotas set by others? Do you believe in “speaking things into being”, also known as “affirmations”?
September 27th, 2010
So, I have been thinking about this… wait just a minute, someone is calling me on my cell phone. “Hello, this is Dave Kelly. Yup. Um-huh. Real World: Motivational Speakers? I like it. Send me an email. Thanks.”
Sorry about that. Anyway, I was going to say… wait, now my phone is buzzing. A text message. Oh, that’s good. Gotta text back. “U R kidding. LOL. HA!”
So, the thing with distractions is… A tweet! Let me see, what is my friend, who tweets his every move fifty-plus times a day, up to?
Getting the point?
And that is just from one medium of distraction, my cell phone.
What else do you have going on? Video games? Facebook? TV? Boyfriend – girlfriend – husband -wife? Multiples of those?
No matter what your distractions are, choose to manage them in an intelligent way. Just because your phone rings, you DO NOT have to answer it. That is what voice mail is for. Do you spend all day checking email? Really, are you that important that the latest set of joke motivation posters can’t sit in your email box until later in the day? Set aside a certain time or a couple of times per day when you will check email. If something is urgent, let the person call you.
We have fallen into this “you’re it” mentality with email wherein if I send you a message about something, it is now your responsibility. Other than in a work hierarchy, do not let people do that to you. Remember, “Failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.”
Love “Family Guy”? That’s OK, it’s fine to have programs you enjoy. They are great for relaxing and forgetting about the day. However, that program comes on in Atlanta from 7-8 pm on “Peachtree TV”, some nights from 8-10 pm on “TBS”, and from 11 pm-midnight on “Cartoon Network”. If you sit there for all five hours, taking in “King of the Hill” from 10-11 pm as a sorbet, who is in control? You or the electronic device that you bought?
Have you fallen madly in love and found your soul mate? Great! You want to spend every waking minute either with them/talking to them/thinking about them/texting them? And, at the same time, maybe not so great (but certainly understandable). You have to take control of those feelings in order to be productive. Put your soul mate’s picture on your desk and limit your contacts to either certain times when you can talk or a maximum number of texts per day.
You control your time, if you choose to. You can make it productive time or you can let it get away from you.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go watch Jack Bauer save the world (“24”, everyday at noon on the Crime Investigation Network). Hey, it’s my lunch hour!
Do you need a great inspirational speaker for your next event?
No matter what you call it, I am available for your next conference, convention, conclave, convocation, reunion, rally, workshop, ed session, orientation, meeting, before/during/after breakfast/lunch/dinner, gathering, commencement, groundbreaking, team building, staff development, leadership retreat, continuing education, ceremony, assembly, congress, council, confab, forum, roundtable, symposium, opening session, closing session, or any session in between. I present practical information in a fun and informative manner with humor, stories of overcoming obstacles, and with anecdotes about cats, football, and biscuits and gravy (among others). I can entertain and inspire your audience for 15 minutes to as long as you need me to. Please call or email me and we can easily work out the details! To see what dates I have available, feel free to contact me via email.
June 20th, 2010