From November 23-24, 2011, JUMP! ran a High School Level 1 Leadership workshop at the American Community School (ACS) in Abu Dhabi.  Dennis Hilgendorf and Brittany Mitro, ACS high school students and participants in the program, took a moment to reflect on their experience during the program and how it has impacted their lives.

My experience with the JUMP! Foundation over two days that I spent with them was truly life changing. I feel that I gained so much from my two-day experience.

The JUMP! Leadership Training is remarkably unique in that those who participate in it gain an ability to inspire and believe in themselves. This was strengthened and achieved through the facilitator, giving the students and participants the power of choice. The power of choice is a concept that allows an individual to make his own choices uninfluenced by everyone else. For instance, we, the participants, were given the choice to either participate in a certain activity or not or contribute to an activity or group discussion or not. Since I chose to participate in the activities and discussions in order to strengthen my leadership skills, I found that I utilized self motivation and inspiration through believing in myself and doing what I want to do through positive means in order to become who I want to become. So, I gained belief in myself that I can become who I can become, I can be the leader that leads my group in whatever way they need most, I can be the positive change in the world through continuous hard work in leadership.  In addition to this, I gained insight into ways to view a situation (i.e., with the mindset of a “prisoner,” “vacationer,” or “changemaker”).  I gained an understanding as to who I am and who I want to become for the better.  Through this evaluation and reflection of myself and how it made me feel, I gained strength in my leadership skills in that I know my strengths and what I need to work on and strengthen.

I would like to close with one of my favorite quotes: “A leader is one who summons the best from others as he calls upon the best within himself to join in the common cause and the common purpose.” I firmly believe that the JUMP! Leadership Program is perfectly depicted in this quote and that their message is powerfully demonstrated in everything that they do. I would like to thank my facilitators, Justin Bedard and Jacqueline Aldrovandi, as well as the rest of the JUMP! Team for being such a powerful, inspiring, and life changing leaders in the world and for hosting a fantastic Leadership Training Retreat in which I discovered and strengthened who I am as a leader.

– Dennis Hilgendorf, ACS Student

Last month I participated in a JUMP! leadership workshop at my school, the American Community School of Abu Dhabi. I chose to do this because of encouragement from a few of my teachers. Although I was hesitant at first I am now very glad that I did. The workshop was run by Justin, one of the founders of the JUMP! Foundation. Leadership ideas were taught in fun, active ways. The things I learned I will not forget. There were 14 or so other students participating with me. We did team and individual challenges throughout the 2 days. We also gave suggestions of things we wanted to work on, such as public speaking. These activities and challenges taught me things about myself and helped us to build a sense of community. Rarely were we told what we were supposed to learn, instead we were given challenges and learned from ourselves and the rest of the group.

I gained both an understanding of leadership and its different forms, and a greater understanding of myself in these ways. I truly learned how I can be a leader in small and big ways. The workshop gave me confidence in myself and inspired me to believe in my own leadership abilities.

After the workshop I chose to take on more leadership roles in my community. In addition to the community work I was involved with I am going to be helping with the planning and set up of a large event called the Global Issues Conference ( at my school. I am also hoping to contribute more of my time to different issues that our school is working with. The JUMP! leadership program was a great experience for me and I think was very beneficial to everyone who participated.

– Brittany Mitro, ACS Student

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