I’ve started the New Year off with a bang – I feel as though I’m really realigning myself in terms of my spiritual health, physical well being, and work aspirations. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write a blog post, but if you have six hours to spare and are really bored, you can catch up with me and what’s going on in the main areas of my life!
Spiritual Health – My small group has been a vital piece of my faith journey thus far, and I know they will continue to support and explore with me. We’re starting a new series about prayer. Power in Prayer, focusing on adoration, petition, intercession and another one later in the month that I don’t quite know of yet. I think this will be really helpful in my communication with God, so I’m really excited for it! I also feel extremely blessed and energized, because I can feel my family beginning to come together and getting closer in spiritual ways that we hadn’t before.
Physical Well Being – This month kicks off my very first Whole30. Whole30 is virtually a stricter version of the paleo ‘diet’ (it’s a lifestyle change, not a diet!). The big things I’ll be excluding from my diet for these 30 days are all forms of grains, any added sugar (including honey and other natural sweeteners), and any type of soy. I’m also not allowed to weigh myself or take progress pictures during the month – I’m supposed to be focusing on ‘detoxing’ my body, and by the end of the 30 days I will, theoretically, see a big change in the foods my body wants and craves. I’m a little worried about it, because any cheating means you have to start your 30 days over! I have faith in myself, but at the same time I know that at times, my will power is virtually nonexistent! Regardless, I know it will be a good experience and I will learn a lot about myself during the process. You can read more about whole30 here. I’ll be keeping up with my goal to go to the gym 5/6 times a week as well!
Work Aspirations – I really love being an ELA teacher, and I don’t anticipate ceasing in teaching in the near future. However, I am also really interested in the life coaching program here at New Pathways. I have discovered that throughout my youth I have been conditioned and trained by the best life coaches I could ever ask for – my parents! Now I feel a burning desire to share everything I’ve learned with the youth I meet while at NPE. I am so happy with where I am right now, and I want to share the important lessons I’ve learned that have enabled me to get here.
One of the important lessons my parents taught me is to be proactive in getting what you want. Because of this, I scheduled a meeting with Danny, our company’s COO and the head of the life coaching program. I explained that I wanted to be involved with life coaching, and I outlined why I think I would be an asset to the team. To my pleasant surprise, he was totally and immediately on board! I was really excited, and this was a good experience for me, career wise – I set my sights on something, put a plan in action to achieve it, and saw results.
Danny assigned me to the First Annual New Pathway Youth Power Camp – a three day boarding camp led by mentors Peacemaker Myoung and myself. The three-day event was a resounding success, with students and mentors alike having a wonderful time and learning a lot. The focus of camp was on six key areas vital to youth leader development; Public Speaking, Promoting Self-Esteem, Dealing with Pressure, Becoming a Positive Role Model, Health and Fitness, and Preparing for the Future. Each of the modules was taught by either Danny Hwang, Peacemaker Myoung, or myself, the life coaches who were responsible for running the camp. Interspersed between modules were activities that exercised leadership skills, physical fitness, positive and courageous attitudes, and innovative thinking. Having the camp run concurrent with the first days of 2015 allowed us to take advantage of the abundance of opportunities the New Year offers in a way no other students were able to.
On our first day together, students and mentors were quick to grow comfortable with each other. The intimate group of just six students fostered a relaxed attitude of camaraderie and teamwork. The morning was spent with Danny, during an entertaining and thoroughly education lesson on public speaking, where we covered the 11 points of being a successful and powerful public speaker. We also did some awesome icebreakers that allowed us to get to know each other past our names. For lunch, we practiced healthy eating habits and allowed the kids to be involved by providing a build-your-own-sandwich bar and fresh fruit for dessert. The afternoon held modules Promoting Self Esteem, where we discussed the importance of recognizing your value, and Dealing With Pressure, where we identified different types of pressure and realized the vitality of having healthy and effective ways to deal with this pressure. After part two of our public speaking workshop, we headed over to the Shanghai Stadium where both kids and mentors went rock climbing. After few fears were overcome, comfort zones expanded, and appetites worked up, everyone headed over to dinner at a restaurant close to the hotel. Italian was the requested cuisine, as everyone wanted some warm pasta to replenish his or her carb supply. With the end of the day nearing, it was time to head back to XJH and wind down with a movie. We watched the first half of Cool Runnings, a hysterical movie about a Jamaican bobsled team, highlighting the importance of perseverance, determination, and especially teamwork. By the time the kids returned to the hotel at 22:00, everyone was exhausted and looking forward to our second busy day together.
Day two started bright and early – a 6:30 wake up call enabled us to be at the office for Danny’s Monster Workout starting at 7:10. 31 flights of stairs, 100 pushups, 50 squats and 100 sit-ups later, seemingly everyone (excluding SuperDanny) was sweaty and exhausted – but feeling exhilarated as well! After a shower and filling breakfast, we spent time getting to know each other with more icebreakers and teambuilding activities. The favorite was the ‘human knot’ wherein the group knots itself up and must work to untangle themselves without breaking their hand holds. Peacemaker led the morning’s lesson on Becoming a Positive Role Model, during which the kids identified the 5 points attributed to positive role models; courage, teamwork, joy, leadership and celebrating achievements. After a delicious lunch, we went right into our afternoon lessons. During Health and Fitness we learned about some inspirational athletes and discussed how to properly fuel
our bodies. We were able to practice what we’d just learned by making smoothies – an awesome and delicious way to get the fruits and vegetables our bodies need on the daily. The final lesson of the day was Preparing for the Future, which served to encourage the kids to be proactive in their future – starting now. This preparation is vital to building the future the students have dreamed for themselves. The kids were still tired from our morning monster workout, so in the afternoon we opted for an exercise that focused us on our mental and spiritual psyche: yoga and meditation. After another public speaking workshop, we stationed ourselves in the kitchen for wraps and oven-baked sandwiches. The rest of the evening was spent finishing Cool Runnings and singing in a camp-style gathering.
Saturday was our final day together and we started it similarly to the previous day – a power workout, filling breakfast, icebreakers & team builders, and the final part of our public speaking workshop. Lunch was make-your-own-pizza, and students got really creative when making their creations. After lunch, we had a quick review of the modules we covered over the previous two days and let the students work on their own in preparation for our graduation ceremony. The students wrote letters to themselves highlighting the most important concepts they learned at camp, identified a specific goal they made for themselves and outlined how they plan to achieve that goal. At 17:00, parents joined us for the graduation ceremony.
The graduation ceremony was the highlight of the camp, where each student was able to showcase what they had learned in front of their mentors, peers, and parents. Each student prepared a short speech sharing their overall experience at camp, the value they got out of it, and in many cases, thanking their parents for this wonderful opportunity. The students received their letters from Danny, and we ended the ceremony, and camp, with a song led by and with guitar accompaniment by Peacemaker. It was truly an amazing three days spent together, teaching, learning, encouraging and laughing. The values and skills taught during this camp session are of the upmost importance for students who want to become bright, aspiring young adults.