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SEP. 4, 2014

Leading the Way

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“Adasahede” is a word you will often hear at The Outdoor Academy. It is how we identify our Leader of the Day; a role that students fulfill throughout the semester giving them a chance to practice their leadership skills, guide the community, and ensure that the day’s events run smoothly. For some students this is a comfortable and familiar role. Perhaps they already serve in leadership positions at home like captaining a sports team, acting in student government, or even being the eldest child in their family. For others this is a completely new endeavor. Taking on the responsibility of leading a community of their peers and even just carrying the title of “Leader” can be a daunting and nerve-racking experience the first time!

That is exactly why we have the Adasahede role at OA. We believe that each opportunity we can give students to step out of their comfort zone and into the limelight (or the front of the Sun Lodge dining hall) is a chance for them to grow beyond what they believe they are capable of.  We allow them to explore different leadership styles throughout the semester and challenge our students to lead in the manner that will best support the needs of the community around them. In the wisdom of Kurt Hahn, a founding educator of Outward Bound:

“There is more in us than we know. If we could be made to see it, perhaps, for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less.”

One of my favorite traditions at OA is the passing of the Adasahede role. After dinner tables have been cleared and announcements completed, the current Adasahede is tasked with choosing a member of the community to fulfill that role the following day. It is someone whom they have observed to be a positive role model, makes extra efforts to help with daily tasks, and supports the needs of their Cabin and community. Not only must they choose the next day’s Adasahede, they must share their choice in a creative and innovative way each time. We have heard original poems and songs, solved riddles, played board games, watched magic tricks, and participated in dramatic skits just to find out who tomorrow’s Adasahede will be. The performances can be funny, heartfelt, silly, dramatic, or touching…but always original.

This week Franklin, our male Resident Wilderness Leader, was tasked with choosing the first student Adasahede of the semester. He began by describing the book he was holding: Endurance. It is the inspirational story of Ernest Shackleton whose incredible leadership kept his 27 person crew alive while their ship was stranded for 20 months on an Antarctic ice shelf. Franklin shared three quotes from Endurance that he felt described his choice for Adasahede:

“To him, Shackleton was a cheery happy chief who was leading his men in a great and splendid adventure.”

“To keep up the spirits of the men, Shackleton now worked as I had never seen him work before.

“During our next conference, Shackleton with characteristic foresight, began talking of the preparations we should make against the time when the ship would be no more.”

Although we are a community of students, not sailors, Franklin felt that these descriptions truly captured the unrelenting positive attitude and impressive work ethic of our first student Adasahede: Jack Swinson. 

Congratulations Jack! We are so proud to have you at the helm of our ship for Semester 39.

Lindsay Martin
Admissions Director