As I write this blog around Valentine’s day, love is in the air and I feel it’s a good time to profess my love for the International Citizen Service (ICS) programme.
Having recently been out in Rwanda with Tearfund ICS, I had a great opportunity to engage young people in the fight against poverty through my role as a team leader.
To some, this may sound proud or exaggerated but I experienced moments of young people in my team really changing the lives of others for the better, like this picture where my In-Country volunteers share vital education on hygiene and sanitation.
I love to see young people fighting poverty and this is what I most desired as a team leader.
When I first considered being a team leader, I was concerned if I could lead and motivate groups of young people, especially in times of conflict or ‘storming’ which we had learnt so much about at training.
Of course with the many stresses and responsibilities involved, we remained strong through a commitment to each other, to our partner, to our community and to the ICS programme. As a team leader, the most difficult circumstances can be overcome by leading with commitment, to motivate your team through the hard times and encourage them that they are making a difference.
I have learnt that leadership is about placing my own desires aside.
It sounds sacrificial but in reality supporting others’ ideas means that they willingly support yours, hopefully. Having spent so much time fostering the ideas of my volunteers, I found much return in how they would support mine. Even the silly ones like singing in front of church, making dance videos and other countless embarrassments.
I remember when I first met my team and one volunteer really encouraged me, saying that my role is to ‘Set the tempo’. These words I really took to heart.
For me, it meant I could decide to be the leader that leads the team in going deeper, laughing harder, reaching further and serving others better.
With so many good memories and positive impacts, I loved every moment of being a team leader with ICS. It is an incredible opportunity available to those over 23 years, who want to commit and set the tempo of life-changing experiences for young people and help improve the lives of some of the world’s poorest people.