Throughout my pending membership semester, I have enjoyed each opportunity to participate in the National Society of Leadership and Success events. From the beginning orientation meeting to the SNT group meetings, I have lived each day striving to be a leader in everything I do. Whether I am at work, school, or enjoying my hobbies, I am constantly thinking about what the society has taught me about taking leadership and responsibility roles in everything I do.
The first SNT meeting I attended my group members suggested an idea to help with one of my goals that at first seemed somewhat discouraging. My goal was to dedicate more time to the University of South Alabama Sailing Club, in which I have become the volunteer head coach following three years of participation. Being a full time senior student and working 30 hours per week, it seemed questionable whether I could possibly allocate more time to coaching the club members. The club consists of about 35 students that are interested in sailing and competitive sailboat racing on the college circuit. Many of the sailors are new to the sport however there is a very competitive sailing season that the South Alabama sailors wished to become more involved with. The SNT group assigned me to take some time out of each week and design a way to use the most efficient coaching elements with the limited time I have with the sailing club. In the first week, I was able to allot Saturday and Sunday to help the team prepare for their first district championship appearance the following weekend using some practice drills associated with sailboat handling and racing.
I knew I reached my goal when I witnessed the team travel to the district championship event and compete against the other local university sailing teams. However, not only did they compete, but they won first place in the district championship and was invited to compete in the Intercollegiate Sailing Association Sloop National Championship hosted by the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn October 24-25, 2009. This was a big accomplishment for the team since they have the opportunity to compete against the top 10 best sailing teams in the country out of approximately 200 college sailing programs. I decided to dedicate more of my time to training the team for this event, which was only three weeks later, since they were facing colleges that incorporate a full paid coaching staff with hundreds of sailors in each program and much more training resources. The team I led as a volunteer coach raised $1,900 is just 3 weeks to fly the four students to Connecticut and compete in the national competition. The national championship event ended with the South Alabama team placing 10th out of 10 colleges. The team was just as proud as if they had won the national championship. When they returned back to school they were cheerful and told the stories of the prestigious event and they spread the word of how proud they were that they had to opportunity to compete against the best schools in the nation. At this point, I knew that I and my team had accomplished an amazing achievement. In just four weeks, I was able to assist the team in learning how to sail a new type of boat, then trained the team to compete on a national level after winning the district championship, and finally witnessed how appreciative the team was for being able to travel and compete even though they finished last in the event.
The National Society of Leadership and Success has taught me to go above and beyond to dedicate myself for the benefit of a team program. I will strive to continue the position I have as the volunteer coach of the University of South Alabama Sailing Club and see to it that I can dedicate as much time as possible to encourage college students to participate and compete in a competitive college sport program. With my assistance, the sailing club will continue to set goals on the national level of competition each year.