Last weekend, a group of Stockdale Fellows traveled to Kansas City, Missouri to represent Monmouth College in a Collegiate Leadership Competition (CLC) for the first time. Competing against five other schools, Monmouth College brought home second place. The CLC team members all volunteered to take part in the new experience and practiced for five weeks leading up to the competition day on Saturday, March 30.
Many asked “how do you compete in leadership?” and the answer isn’t an easy one. As Coach Kris said, “It’s like sports for your brain.” We practiced activities that dealt a lot with mental strategizing and pushed us to work as a cohesive team with a common goal. From riddles, to quiz bowls, to movie clips, we looked for aspects of leadership in everything we did.
Our team’s journey south on Friday had a rocky start, with a return to Monmouth a half hour into the drive, a broken A/C, torrential downpour, a surplus of hydroplaning, and some interesting aux cord choices, to say the least. Nonetheless, we arrived safely to Kansas City and were able to get a full night’s rest in preparation for the day ahead.
Competition day began promptly at 9:30 am and lasted through 5:00 pm. The day consisted of six consecutive exercises each an hour long – 45 minutes for the activity, 15 minutes to debrief. During each activity, a leader of the group was chosen at random. Judging was based heavily on how this leader handled the group, their strategy, and they’re control. We were also judged on how well we worked together as a whole and what our problem-solving methods were. Some of the practices were: Building a 400-piece domino chain that linked to the other team’s train; recreating a post-it note mural being able to only view the completed mural once; and simultaneously completing multiple activities such as puzzle, card tower, Rubik’s cube, etc. We all agree it was a fun, learning experience, but we also agree that it was one of the most stressful. Coach Kris reflected on the rewarding experience saying: “It was both amazing (and stressful at times) to watch my students work through difficult challenges the day of the competition, but it all lead to them discovering latent leadership skills and earning second place.”
The team members were Lexi Brauer (Jr.), Megan Davis (So.), Emma Hildebrand (Jr.), Emma Johannes (So.), Serene Venenga (So.), and Shannon Wilbourne (Fr.). The team was coached by Monmouth College’s Assistant Director of Leadership Development, Jake McLean and his Western University graduate student intern, Kris Clayton.