Community and Service 2015-2016
In School: This year, I was part of the Horticulture Club executive team as Vice President.
1. How did you become more aware of your own strengths and areas for growth?
Through becoming VP, I was able to take a small step back from my previous position as president and see how I could have improved my tenure. I think I could have taken much more initiatives last year, though I find I am actually rather capable at using my experience to help newer members find their way through the many seeds and growing techniques. This was also my first year as exec with new members that stayed, so I learned a lot about sharing the garden and helping everyone grow the best they could. However, I still think I need more work on my skills for working with people I don’t know so well.
2. How did you undertake challenges that developed new skills?
This year, I decided to attempt to grow potatoes (which hadn’t been grown prior) and cucumbers (which only had ever grown successfully once). My potatoes grew successfully, despite being very small and not being in the correct environment, however the cucumbers were never able to sprout (despite many attempts from me and some other club members).
3. How did you discuss, evaluate and plan student-initiated activities?
This year’s student-initiated activities included the seedling Outreach Program and a field trip to a farm. While the field trip conflicted with my schedule and I didn’t go, the members who went said it had been an enjoyable and educational experience. As for the Outreach Program, it is a program where we provide teachers with seedlings (formerly with seeds) pre-planted in pots, so there can be more green in the school. The switch to seedlings was made because the seeds tended to die due to lack of care and understanding of how to care for the plants.
4. How did you persevere in action?
Plants die, a lot, very easily. Explaining to people that their plants are most likely dead, and that what is currently growing out of their planter is probably weeds, is somewhat difficult. The most difficult thing for me though was being a leader, which meant people expected things of me, expected me to know stuff, etc. I wasn’t very sure how to work with people in that sense, and I think Ms. Pringle helped me connect with everyone. With a little risk taking and perseverance, I think I became a more effective team leader and vice-president
5. How did you work collaboratively with others?
As an executive member it was very important to work with the rest of the club fluidly so that the club can stay together and grow together. Being a vice-president helped me understand that it was important to both keep yourself and others busy, especially when preparing for events like the club fair, and the only way to do that was to keep a constant stream of communication and make sure no one misunderstands or is left out.
6. How did you develop international-mindedness through global engagement, multilingualism and intercultural understanding?
As a small club, it wasn’t so much international-mindedness as communication problems. We did have one single method of mass communication in the club, which is the Google group the exec team runs. This is somewhat problematic as it is not regularly updated, but some progress was made by me to clean up the group somewhat.
Being in the club didn’t so much change my perception of the human world but of the plant world and what we share. It’s so incredibly hard to grow a plant properly, it makes you realise just how amazing and resilient nature is. Still, I think I helped a lot of people discover the fun and beauty of growing mint. Hopefully more will be interested in developing to more advanced plants.
7. How did you consider the ethical implications of your actions?
I think my service helped my club become more experienced and knowledgeable in what we were doing, and it kept everyone on track. I also feel that throughout my term, the club has become more defined in what it wants to be: a small club of hobbyist growers, and I think that in a sense makes us more independent. I know I have achieved something in the eyes of my club members when newer club members turn to me when they have questions, concerns or need help, and I know that the executive team can count on me, and I can count on them to take our club further in our vision.
Out of School: Being a Facilitator/Glorified Receptionist at a Toastmasters Contest