In February 2016, we held our first transformation leadership retreat at Beach no. 2 near Freetown for the college students currently in our scholarship program. Our students engaged in team-building and leadership exercises. They were inspired through motivating discussions and activities that exposed them to new ideas. The focus of the leadership program was changing their perception of great leaders from “power” to “service.” Lessons from the lives of great leaders in history like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King were shared. Our students left the retreat anxious to serve their communities.
At this retreat, most of our students saw the ocean for the first time in their lives; they all stepped into the ocean for the first time in their lives even though the ocean was only three hours away from Makeni where they all study. None of our students had ever been on vacation. They all were astounded to be at beautiful beaches in their own country.
As a result of that training and their experience at a beautiful beach, our students started a street-cleaning initiative in Makeni that they will perform on a monthly basis. They are on a mission to invite their friends and neighbors and collaborate with the city to keep Makeni clean.
The retreat was an eye-opening experience for everyone involved.