Leadership 'N Motion

Where walking, mindfulness and leadership intersect

The Silent Walk.... Halfway through the activities, I thought it would be good to take a break.  So I introduced them to the concept of a Silent Walk through the halls and outside the school into the sunshine and back.  They were game for it, and they briskly headed out the door.  We spent a few moments soaking up the sunshine and breathing deeply and being very aware of our surroundings.  I then turned to open the door, only to find it locked!  And no one was around to buzz us in!  The students remained silent, and one mimed that we should walk around to the other entrance.  We all looked at each other and nodded in agreement.  We followed her around the building, into the high school entrance, through the halls (where we even met the principal who greeted us, and they all smiled and gave a quick wave but didn’t break the silence), around corners, up the stairs, and back to our original room.  At that point I ended the official silence, and we debriefed the experience.  Even they were impressed with themselves.  This was the first day that all these students had worked together as a team, and they felt as though they were on their way to becoming an effective one!

After the training, I received thank-you emails from each student.  One young man even wrote, “Learning to communicate without assumptions is a lifelong skill I can only thank you for.”  And I, in turn, have to thank the leaders of aWALKening, Kate Link and Marijne van den Kieboom, for providing me with such simple yet powerful strategies to help me in my job and my personal life!

Susan Ladd, Coordinator - Vermont Career & Technical Student Organizations 
Chelsea, Vermont - USA

aWALKening Gets Traction... Hear from Susan Ladd
Susan Ladd provides leadership training and opportunities to Vermont state and local officers as well as students engaged in career and technical education. After participating in the aWALKening retreat in Ludlow, Vermont in August 2016, Susan quickly applied her learning to youth leaders. It sounds like aWALKening was an aWAKEning!

In my bringing leadership workshops to high school students, I am always trying to find new activities to do, especially since I may have some students attending from previous years.  To give my repertoire a boost, I enrolled in the aWALKening session at Ludlow in August, and this was an awakening for me….

It was actually very rewarding for me to have a student training so quickly after I finished the aWALKening experience because I incorporated many of the concepts into it.  Since I had about three hours to spend with some local officers of a career & technical student organization (Future Business Leaders of America), it gave me enough time to lay some initial groundwork and then I added in some of the aWALKening ideas—not taking things personally, assumptions, and even having students use metaphors.  But perhaps the most impressive to me was the Silent Walk.