Friday, August 22, 2014

Youth Leadership and the Colorado Taekwondo Institute

By Merinda Sautel, 6th dan

The Colorado Taekwondo Institute (CTI) is instrumental in developing leaders of all ages.  Students at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute join for a variety of reasons: exercise, fitness, self defense, help with school, etc.  All students start with their own reason for joining but students who are working towards their black belt all gain leadership training no matter what their age.  Most important is the youth leadership development that occurs at CTI.

Our Leadership Training in Action
"It is apparent that leadership isn't a part of the average adolescent's life.  Most are never offered the chance to act as leaders. Teenagers do not come naturally to a belief in their own leadership abilities(Van Linden and Fertman,  preface xvii). "  This statement is not true for the youth and teenagers at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute.  All CTI students striving to earn their black belt  get leadership training in a multitude of ways.  Students in the classroom work with other students when they do assistant teaching and upper belts are trained often to lead various parts of the Taekwondo instruction.  Students working towards black belt often pick an additional class with younger students to help with assistant instructing on a regular basis.

One very unique attribute of the CTI is the dedicated leadership training that happens 2-3 times per month and at various seminars and weekend conventions throughout the year.  Students of all ages learn a variety of leadership skills at these training from actually leading a class, to talking with parents and potential customers, to learning how to properly answer the phone, to giving speeches in front of peers, to teaching students of all ages, etc.  CTI youth and teenagers have an easier time at school by transferring these skills to their everyday life.  They are more confident with presentations and do not shy away from projects that require dedication and perseverance.  Each of our students has learned the art of making goals and attaining those goals with hard work and dedication to their training.

"It is important to recognize that leadership development also furthers the development of healthy and risk-reducing behavior and social competence; it is an undertaking that can be an important component of any organization or program serving adolescents (Van Linden and Fertman,  preface xviii)."  The  Colorado Taekwondo Institute is such an organization that specifically works on leadership development.  Currently there are several students ages 13 - 17 who are actual CTI instructors with their own classes. These instructors are responsible for the class instruction, planning of said instruction, development of students towards attaining black belt, testing of their students, speaking with parents, and the safety of their students.  They attend meetings and are accountable for each aspect of their class.  These young instructors are outstanding students in their own high schools and are often excellent athletes that excel in their school sports.

A., Van Linden Josephine, and Carl I. Fertman. Youth Leadership: A Guide to Understanding Leadership Development in Adolescents. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1998. Print.

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