The fantastic start to a memorable day began when the members of Class XXVIII gathered at the Young at Art Museum Wednesday, December 3, excited for the day ahead. Little did I know that the upcoming day would be filled with so many fun learning experiences.
My journey into the world of the arts began when Young At Art’s Volunteer Coordinator, Emily Deacon, explained Young At Art’s mission: to create “inspiring, interactive experiences in which art is central to shaping young minds and enriching our community”. At Young At Art, I walked through unique exhibits in which I could participate in many different ways! For example, I reveled in the illusion of climbing Katsushika Hokusai’s “The Great Wave of Kanagawa,” which was represented in the form of a jungle gym. This inspiring museum enriched with the atmosphere of creativity offered a beautiful introduction to a meaningful day.
Shortly thereafter, we traveled to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. As we arrived, two representatives, Pablo Urquilla, Operations and Events Services Manager, and Peter Neirouz, Membership and Development Manager, greeted us and gave an overview of what putting on a theatrical production entails. While touring the building, I was surprised to learn that almost any profession can fit into the performing arts. Many jobs support the performing arts, and work hand-in-hand with the cast and directors to put on a production; some of which include casting director, set design, producer, make-up artists, and costume designers. While discussing the importance of the arts in everyday life, a Broward Center Staff Member stated, “The arts are what make us human”. This quote resonated within me; I feel that in the arts, people can express themselves without judgment and allow their emotions to be freely expressed.
My adventure continued as I walked outside to enjoy a delicious lunch in the beautiful Esplanade Park. While munching on pizza, I enjoyed the scenic view of boats gliding on the glistening water. As discussed in the theater, the water is a key component to the theater’s relevance because of its prime location.
Next, I continued my day by visiting the African American Research Library and Culture Center. There, I watched a video presentation on why this institution was founded, and how it continues to support research of African American history today. This Center includes literary collections of African-American authors and artifacts from Africa, the Caribbean, North America, and South America. I enjoyed seeing how this unique building plays such a huge role in upholding and preserving African American history.
Inside the Center, my fellow YLB-ers and I convened at the theater to participate in team-building activities. Lauren Formica of the Fort Lauderdale Children’s Theater Activities led improv games that stressed the value of trust and teamwork within a successful leader. From these activities, I learned that, when striving to become the best leader I can be, I need to harness my ability to be creative and think “on the spot”.
As the day came to a close, I sat down in the theater, energized from the excitement of the improv games, and watched an informative PowerPoint. Claudia Rodriguez, Associate Project Director of the Anti-Defamation League, gave a presentation about microaggressions. Rodriguez discussed the definition of microaggression: a social exchange in which a person says or does something, often accidentally and without intended malice, that belittles and alienates a member of a marginalized group. I found it interesting to listen to my peers, many of whom come from diverse ethnic backgrounds, share their personal experiences with microaggressions. I learned that the best way to deal with microaggressions is to assume that the person who made the comment did so innocently and without malicious intent.
Overall, my day can be summed up in the development of two important qualities that enhance leadership: individuality and passion.
Expression of the individual comes in all shapes and sizes, which was exemplified through Young At Art’s range of different installations. I feel that it is important to be a proud individual, and respectfully take pride in my own beliefs and become individually responsible. Through fully owning my own actions, I can inspire someone else to fully love and accept themselves as well!
Everywhere I go in life, I hope to be full of passion. The passion that I recognized in those around me, ranging from the individuals that organized and led activities to my fellow peers, was incredibly inspiring. I enjoyed listening to people who expressed passion through their words and actions, and aimed to make the world a better place.
Thank you to all of our volunteers and speakers that made this day possible.
Thank you to our program day sponsor.