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TL Band S.O.A.R.s as Leaders

by Katie Duffey, Reporter
Herald Journal, Monticello IN, Thursday 03/16/06

It has been said that the very essence of leadership is that you have a vision, and the Spirit of Twin Lakes Band Boosters have lived up to this credo.

Enlisting Peter Ferrito, a noted expert in Team Building and Leadership Training, to work with the Spirit of Twin Lakes, the band has begun to develop a vision of their own.

"A couple of years ago we started to notice that our band students needed to work on their leadership skills, and we developed several goals for the future of the program," said Chuck Kubly, Twin Lakes Band Director. "We wanted to bring someone in to train them for leadership roles."

About 40 band students from Twin Lakes gathered at the Zion Bethel Church for a day-long installation of a program called S.O.A.R. (Successfully Obtaining Achievement Responsibly) Academy led by Ferrito.

A nationally recognized leadership and team-building expert, Ferrito has trained over 350 student leader teams and over 25,000 students to create individual and collective success in their organizations. Ferrito, who trains band students, student athletes and student government leaders, was impressed by the enthusiasm the Twin Lakes students brought with them to the workshop.

"The kids today have had lots of energy and have been very insightful throughout the entire process," said Ferrito. "They have shown that they are very willing to make the band and the community as a whole better through their leadership."

The group attending the pre-leadership selection workshop was made up of band students that have applied for leadership positions for the 2006-2007 school year. With positions ranging from drum majors and guard captains to section leaders up for grabs next year, the students attending the academy hoped to garner useful tools to help them better lead their peers.

"I like having a say in what happens, and if I don't like what is going on within my section in the band I want to be able to do something about it," said junior Kristin Bentlage, who plays the trombone in the band. "This has all been a really big help I think. You come into a day like this thinking there is no way you could fill a whole day learning about leadership, but we really have."

Goals of the program include acquiring lifelong learning skills, building individual confidence, understanding and developing a team concept and increasing communication skills. Working now with the applicants for leadership positions and later with the group that is chosen, Ferrito believes that in order to be successful, leadership skills are a must.

"Twenty of these kids are going to be leaders of the band, and they are going to have to be able to learn how to be a friend and how also to be in charge of their friends at the same time," said Ferrito, who will lead a two-day workshop with the band leaders. "We are just trying to give them some training that will help them with this."

Though the focus was directed at developing the leadership skills within the ranks of the Spirit of Twin Lakes Marching Band, for Kubly the day was also about helping the students build character for later in life.

"There are going to be very few professional musicians that will come out of our bands for whom music will be their careers," said Kubly. "But by doing programs like these and working with the kids, we are going to have a lot of students entering the professional world as good leaders."

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