Making the decision to lead a SEED lesson was a big step for me because it could easily go one way or the other in terms of my effectiveness. I had really wanted to take the initiative to try and be on a more personal level with my crew and share my experiences on the topic that I was teaching. I felt that the topic of ‘leave no trace’ was one that I was knowledgeable in and could teach exceptionally well. In my past experiences with SEED lessons, I had always learned and cared a lot more about the topics than I ever did in school. Although SEED teaches about one focused topic at a time, the expansive knowledge that comes from all of the crew members and leaders on that subject is fathomless; we learn far more than just what is in the crew’s SEED manuals. SEED is important and even beneficial to corps’ members because it allows room for questions, thought, overall curiosity, and the demand for more education.
As circumstance would have it, one of NYC’s Program Directors, Ryan, had also volunteered to lead the same SEED lesson that I was planning on teaching. Before the crew assembled, he and I went over the game plan for about 15 minutes. This gave me time to read the crew leaders’ SEED book on the topic that I was going to be teaching. The real trail for me was the intensity that I felt when the crew came together for the lesson; this was my first time really leading my crew through something! Not only that, our Program Director was seated right next to me helping me lead the crew. At first I felt in way over my head! Surely enough the beginning of the lesson was shaky for me but as it went on, I became more comfortable teaching. I started asking questions that corps members could respond and relate to, and I got them thinking about what I was getting at. Towards the end of the SEED lesson, I recognized that Ryan was no longer seated next to me and was not even speaking as often as in the beginning. It was amazing in the fact that the crew noticed me in leadership role where I was an effective and engaging teacher. It was really gratifying!
Overall, I believe that NYC has provided me the most amazing opportunities to gain, build, and work on my leadership skills. Teaching the SEED lesson about ‘leave no trace’ felt beyond amazing, especially when I figured out how to keep my momentum constant. Taking the initiative to ask to lead a SEED was one of the best choices that I have made at NYC and I’ll encourage others to try it as well.