Center for Service
LEAD Academy prepares freshmen to excel at MCLA, discover pathways to success in college and distinguish themselves as leaders. LEAD workshops and activities explore leadership, college success, teambuilding, community service and much more. This five-day action program is an excellent chance for freshmen to jumpstart their MCLA careers and bond with students of similar interest, student leaders and staff. LEAD students stay in on-campus housing and familiarize themselves with campus and the Berkshire region. LEAD is available to 20-30 students on average. Students participants are asked to pay $225.00. MCLA covers the majority of the expenses related to running the program; the fee covers all expenses incurred as part of the program, including room and board and activities fees. Interested students must submit a written application. LEAD 2013 is scheduled for August 3rd-7th. Please contact Spencer Moser at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 413-662-5251.
Community Service and LEAD
Community service and civic engagement are integral parts of the LEAD program and a liberal arts education. Volunteering and community service are ways to give back to the North Adams and greater Berkshire community that welcome students as new members of the neighborhood. By participating in community service at various work sites, LEAD participants will gain an understanding of the different services that are available to community members and the important roles that different organizations play in building and maintaining strong, healthy communities, families and individuals. Participants will also learn about the functioning of a civil society and the importance of democracy to community members. In addition, the trips away from campus to the service sites and the experiences students have there play an important role in orienting them to their new home. On the sidebar you will find examples of service projects that LEAD participants have worked on.
One of the goals of the LEAD Academy is to give incoming freshmen the tools they need to achieve success in college. LEAD Academy student facilitators design and lead workshops for LEAD participants to choose from. During these sessions LEAD participants get to hear from experienced students on a range of topics. Workshops are geared to address a variety of issues that new college students may encounter. Below are descriptions of workshops that have been offered in the past.
- Time Management. The workshop will provide effective time management techniques and strategies applicable to an MCLA student. LEAD students will walk away with a clear understanding of what time management is, why it is important and ways to approach time management as students while at MCLA and beyond.
- Community Living. This is a fun and interactive workshop that will give you the specific tools to thrive in the MCLA community. You will understand how to live and work with many different people in your residence hall and the surrounding North Adams community.
- Effective Group Work. As you enter your college career here at MCLA you will become a member of the College community as well as be a member of a class, club, residence area, team, etc. How group members interact and function with each other directly impacts feelings of satisfaction and happiness. This workshop will explore and cover what you need to know about being both a successful member of a group and how you can help propel the group to success.
- Academic Success 101. This workshop will offer you many effective hints, strategies, approaches and advice on how to succeed academically at MCLA. The workshop will provide you with true and seasoned techniques from the LEAD staff on how to best prepare for and do well in class. The LEAD staff facilitators will discuss how academics are different at MCLA than in high school as well as describe various professor expectations and classroom environments. This session will be particularly valuable for the active student.
- Leadership in the Residence Areas. Attending classes and studying hard are two important ways to ensure success while at college. But to truly make the most of your college experience, however, requires involvement on campus. In this session, you will learn how becoming actively involved in the residence area in which you live will help you become a strong leader, contribute to building a stronger MCLA community, develop the skills necessary to succeed both in and out of the classroom, and make your time at college the most rewarding it can be.
- Goal Setting. Setting and achieving goals are instrumental in achieving our objectives, ambitions and dreams. As you start your college experience you will be confronted with numerous choices and opportunities academically, in student life, in the community and personally; so the knowledge and skill of not just setting goals, but realizing them are particularly important to your success and happiness here at MCLA. This workshop will explain why setting goals are important and offer you methods to achieve goals, not matter what they might be.
- MCLA, Community Service, and You. Many times we do things or are told things that we accept as true or good. Doing community service is one. The first half of this workshop will examine how service fits into society, who is responsible to do it, some of the reasons we do it and conclude with a discussion on the transformative power of community service. The second half of the workshop will provide you with concrete ways you can become involved in community service, campus organizations or the local community while here at MCLA.
A major component of LEAD Academy is building a feeling of community among LEAD participants as well as teaching tools to lead and be part of a strong team. LEAD students are engaged in various activities throughout the program that are designed to facilitate the building of friendships, learning about group dynamics, and how to be an effective leader.
- Icebreakers: Staff guides participants through icebreakers. This allows participants and staff to get to know each other better and to make the entire group feel more comfortable working together during the rest of the program
- Team Scavenger Hunt: LEAD participants are assigned to teams during the duration of the program with one student staff member as the team leader. The scavenger hunt is designed so that team members work together to solve the puzzle. This is a great introductory activity for teams which will be cooking together and participating in end of the day reflections as a group. The scavenger hunt also orients the new students to various places on campus.
- Group Meals: Each team is responsible for preparing one meal for all LEAD participants during the program. Team members work together to prep and cook food as well as putting out table settings. The entire LEAD program eats meals together giving everyone a chance to socialize in a relaxed setting.
- Ropes Course: On the first full day of the program, participants go to Jiminy Peak to do a challenge ropes course with an organization called Leadership Innovations. The ropes course emphasizes team building skills and the process of group development.
- Leadership Compass: There are a number of different ways to lead and many different types of leaders. The Leadership Compass gives a deeper sense of self-awareness about one's leadership style and approach, and how to balance these styles.
- Reflections: At the end of each day and after each service project, staff members lead their groups through reflection questions. Guided reflections provide participants with the opportunity to discuss their impressions from the day, share what they've learned and voice comments or questions. Participants are encouraged to offer each other feedback. At the end of the program, participants also have the opportunity to share with the entire group what they've taken away from LEAD Academy in any creative way they chose.
Become a LEAD Staff Member
Who better to coach incoming freshmen on being a successful, involved student than current students who have done it themselves? Part of what makes LEAD Academy an exciting program is that student leaders help to design and run it. Being a LEAD staff member is a great way for current students to help build a strong MCLA community and to build bonds with future MCLA leaders.
Staff Applications available from the top of this page. Contact Spencer Moser with any questions.