Recently we gathered in Pittsburgh for an outstanding event. We had to opportunity to celebrate our successes as Youth Development Professionals and to look at the upcoming new Millenium. In between we got to reacquaint ourselves with old friend and make new friends.
Pittsburgh and our wonderful hosts from the Northeast allowed us to explore an exciting part of our great country.
The last morning of the conference I had the privilege of speaking before our members. I asked that all past presidents of the Association to stand than all who had served on past boards, on past committees…it was amazing to note that only a few were still sitting…the last group I asked to stand were the first time attendees. At this point all of us were on our feet. I stated that as we enter the year 2000, we acknowledge those standing, past presidents, past board member, committee member and members.
As we stand at the threshold of the new age, we thank you for the service you have provided to this association and its members, for the great successes you have created now we look to the journey before us and want to maintain and build on our successes while at the same time to move forward to make NAE4-A and it members the SIGNIFICANT Youth Development Profession in America.
If ever there was a time that communities, families, youth and group need our services it is now! Our task is to strengthen the perception and enhance the skill of Youth Development Professional in every county of every state through out the nation. The provide those opportunities and skills that will enable the Youth Professional to be
truly seen as a “Change Agent” in their communities, the one who is viewed as an expert in issues dealing with youth… and not to focus on issues like what color is the ear-tag for beef weigh-in this year…
I have been reading The Leader of the Future, by the Drucker Foundation. In it is an article written by Charles Handy, “The New Language of Organizing and Its Implications for Leaders.”
Toward the end of the article he references the Attributes of people who serve as leaders and have earned the respect and trust of the people they serve. The Necessary Attributes:
A belief in oneself is the one thing that gives an individual the self-confidence to move into the unknown and not be paralyzed by fear. To persuade other to move also, but with this attribute this has to be combined with decent doubt, the humility to accept that one can be wrong on occasion, that others also have ideas, that listening is as important as talking. A Passion for the job provides the energy, enthusiasm and focus that drive the organization and that act as an example for others, this attribute must be paired with, an awareness of other worlds, because focus can turn into blinders, an inability to think beyond one’ own experience and perception. Effective leaders find time to read, to meet other people beyond their own circle, to go to the theater or to walk in the other worlds. The leader must have a love for people, because in a community of individuals, those who find individuals a pain and a nuisance may be respected or feared, but they will not be willingly followed. Yet this attribute, too, requires a balance, a capacity for aloneness, because leaders have to be out in front. It is not always possible to share one’s worries with anyone else. Few thank the leader when things go right, but multitudes will blame the leader if things go wrong. Effective leaders must walk alone from time to time. They also have to live vicariously, deriving their satisfaction from the successes of others and giving those others the recognition that they themselves are often denied. If any 4-H Youth Development or Educator possesses the above attributes, he or she will find them selves being an “Change Agent”‘ or well on their way to becoming one.
As we take our first steps through that threshold, let us take it boldly with the history of our Successes before us and our vision of becoming a “Change Agent”, one who is making SIGNIFICANT contributions to the youth, families and communities and the organization that we each serve.