As my younger sister, Holly Gordon, became an active member of the LEAP team during her senior year, I became increasingly interested and intrigued with the program. I began to visit meetings and partake in a few discussions with their partner organization in Leon, Nicaragua, where I had traveled four years prior. As my sister began to plan to lead a summer delegation to our home-away-from-home community there, I dreamt of the possibility to travel with her and her delegation. When the stars aligned about three weeks prior to the trip date for me to have the opportunity to come along, I pounced.
The one week I spent in Leon, Nicaragua with the LEAP team was a thrilling adventure. We had two responsibilities during our week, which were to train the Alianza Americana (English language school) language teachers in the leadership curriculum, and also to tour local elementary, middle and high schools to spread the ideas of leadership throughout the local communities. This week enabled me to gain a firm grasp on the essence of the LEAP curriculum and its widespread impact on youth populations.
To me, LEAP is an all-encompassing curriculum that enables individuals to become leaders not only by understanding how to positively impact others, but also how to properly command their own lives. As I spoke in Spanish in front of middle school classes of 40 students in back-country Nicaragua, I could sense their thirst for creation and ingenuity in order to improve their community. I left with a firm conviction that a few lessons on how to combat fear and take advantage of opportunity were all the students needed to create lasting change. By training teachers in the LEAP curriculum, I naturally forced myself to fully embody the ideals of leadership. Through this process I became progressively more self-aware of my own strengths and weaknesses, and of my fears and desires, all of which are crucial to becoming a fully-fledged genuine and effective leader.