When I applied to be NY State Outreach Coordinator last year, I was apprehensive. For some reason, as a chapter leader who had never really had contact with the national STAND organization, I though that STAND only wanted superheroes to participate in things like chapter retreats and apply for SLT positions.
Of course, I was wrong. After getting the job, I realized that the chapters are the most important part of STAND. The SLT, the national student conference, the chapter retreats – everything exists to help chapters do what they do, no matter how big or small. I loved being a chapter leader, but I loved being an outreach coordinator even more because I got to use my experience as a chapter leader to help other chapters with everything from advocacy training to practical advice on organizing a fundraiser.
As an outreach coordinator, I got to see something that I don’t think most chapters get to see, unless they’ve been to a conference or chapter retreat. When I was a chapter leader, I didn’t have a sense of how large or widespread STAND was, and it was easy to get frustrated when it felt like so few people cared about what we do. But getting the chance to interact with chapters from all over New York and see how driven, passionate, and creative they are keeps me inspired.
So, I’m glad I decided to go ahead and apply for an SLT position. I’ve learned a lot about leadership, communication, and networking, I’ve met some amazing people, and I feel proud of the things my chapters have been able to accomplish. I’m proud that I was able to be part of this movement. Even though next year I’ll take the year off from the SLT to adjust to college, I’m sure I’ll apply to get back on the SLT for 2010-2011.