Union College’s first Leadership Experience for Mid-America Union academy students was held on September 5-8 and organized by the college’s student leadership team with their sponsor, Linda Becker. This student leadership team competed in Washburn University’s Leadership Challenge with 10 other colleges/universities last spring and finished in 1st place.

During the recent training offered on Union’s campus, academy students were challenged to develop their leadership skills, and the college students were excited to share their experiences in a tangible way. A total of 85 students represented the following Mid-America Union Academies: Campion Academy, College View Academy, Dakota Adventist Academy, Midland Adventist Academy, Mile High Adventist Academy, and Sunnydale Adventist Academy.

The academy students were divided up into 14 teams. After orientation, each team was given a real-life town government situation where they determined how best to handle a crisis situation safely.

On Thursday evening, students and their sponsors were treated to a banquet at The Train Station, in the Haymarket area of downtown Lincoln. Nebraska District 29 Senator Kate Bolz was the featured speaker.

Friday morning, each team presented their scenario to a panel of judges with winners chosen for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams. Union College awarded scholarships to the winning teams – $1,000 to each 1st place team member, $500 to each 2nd place team member, and $250 to each 3rd place team member. The winning teams were:

1st – CVA team 3

2nd – MHAA team 3

3rd – SAA team 2

Along with learning about leadership, students visited the State Capitol and met with Nebraska Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael G. Heavican.

To complete the week, Friday evening vespers by Ty Douglas and Sabbath celebrations brought a special time as the schools worshiped together, along with the college’s Campus Ministries staff. The training concluded with participation in a fun Saturday night ASB activity.

This was a great opportunity for our academy young people to learn how leadership works and how important it is that leadership and management work together when planning and dealing with issues so that the outcomes can be positive for all.

Gerard Ban is associate superintendent of education for the Mid-America Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.