Be Active, Be Engaged, Be Committed…And Have Fun!

The official retreat/kick-off of the 2014-2015 Mayor's Rising Star Council took place on Saturday, November 1 at the University of North Texas Dallas campus. This day's event had a twofold mission, continue to foster the relationship with the Mayor's Rising Star Council Alumni from the 2013-2014 class and engage and equip the newly selected Mayor's Rising Star Council high schoolers with the necessary information to start them on the path of becoming leaders in their schools and larger community. Between team building activities, identifying goals, expectations, and common interests, there was even time for the MRSC students to teach the Mayor's Star Council the NaeNae (a dance made popular earlier this year).

The day began with breakfast and a MRSC Alumni Student Panel which included 4 students from different high schools (Madison, Roosevelt, South Oak Cliff, and Adamson). Attendees were able to hear about their experience with MRSC last year, the best thing they learned while a part of the program and any advice for the new MRSC and MSC class members. Be active, be engaged, and be committed were some of the thoughts that were shared during this time of reflection and seem to be the common thread for both the MRSC and the MSC class.

As breakfast had given us an opportunity to meet many of the students we would be working with over the next year for the first time, the lunch break provided us an opportunity to continue to form our bonds with the MRSC alumni and current class students. I was able to chat with Breon from South Oak Cliff High School. He shared with me his experience on the Mock Trial team at school and I was able to catch a glimpse of his amazing talents, abilities, and passion.

As lunch came to an end, the agenda was back underway with another breakout session. We did a few more team building exercises and had a great conversation with the current MRSC class about some volunteer/service ideas. Sparked by a question and interest from one of the students from Madison inquiring about having the opportunity to feed the homeless during this school year, the MRSC students began to do a brainstorming session that included other volunteer/service ideas such as: restoring an old building, having a clothes and blanket drive, doing a fundraiser for kids that are in the hospital, volunteering at an animal shelter, greeting military personnel at the airport, and making cards for the elderly in nursing homes. The ideas of being active, being engaged, and being committed were evident in all of the suggestions we received from the MRSC students.

As this brainstorming session concluded and we moved into more teambuilding exercises there was truly a sense of purpose and commitment in the room. The MRSC students were inspiring in their desire to make a positive impact in their communities. This brainstorming session was organic in the sense that the MRSC students took the initiative to begin suggesting ways in which they wanted to impact their communities. As the MRSC students began to suggest volunteer/service ideas the MSC members were also discussing ways in which we could bring these ideas to light and assist the students in their desire to positively impact their communities.

The day ended with each of the MRSC members signing a commitment banner and taking a group photo. From 9am - 5pm on a Saturday members of both the MRSC and MSC were active, engaged, committed, and having fun. I left exhausted but above all I left with great expectations of things to come. 

- Joli Robinson -