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First Week on the Road: Visiting the ASA Theta Omicron Chapter

“It is a blessing to get the chance to do what you love and to hear stories from those that are the heart and soul of why you do it.” ~Me

My first visit on the road brought me to the University of Missouri Kansas City (also known as UMKC). This is home to the ladies of the Theta Omicron Chapter of Alpha Sigma Alpha and would be mine for 10 days (from Aug. 19-28). I will never forget being warmly welcomed by the sweet and enthusiastic chapter president Amanda, who wore a brightly colored t-shirt so that it would make it easier for me to spot her at the airport =)

Our first stop was “Winstead’s”, an amazing old fashioned diner that has the best chocolate shakes, hands down! Through our lunch together, Amanda described to me her life changing journey of being a founding sister, as the chapter is still in its young years and builiding up, which I have found to be one of the most exciting times! I am always honored to meet founding sisters and love hearing stories from them because without their passion, dedication and selfless nature chapters everywhere would not be able to exist. To clarify for those of you who may not be Greek, a founding sister is a woman who helps to start a chapter of Alpha Sigma Alpha at a university or college. She helps with what we refer to as the colonization process, which is the stage before the chapter is officially chartered (meaning becomes a official chapter of Alpha Sigma Alpha). During this time the group of founding sisters is responsible for laying the foundation of the chapter operations from scholarship to philanthropy to recruitment and everything else in between! This group along with the guidance and support of a Leadership Consultant creates the chapter from the ground up. It always blows my mind to think of how a chapter starts with a vision and how a group of young women make it a reality! Throughout my time visiting, I had the opportunity to meet and hear stories from the majority of the founding sisters and let me tell you, there is no better inspiration than hearing from young women who wanted to help start a chapter of ASA to make a difference in the lives of young women on their campus! A comment that was stated by one of the founding members that touched my heart deeply was, “There are few moments in this life that you get the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than yourself, for me helping start ASA will always be one of those moments.” It resonated deeply with me because I think that every single founding sister in ASA can relate to it.

Throughout the rest of my visit I was able to help the chapter with one of my favorite chapter operations pieces-RECRUITMENT! I had the opportunity to help prepare for the process, was able to support during the process and assisted with reflection following recruitment. Every chapter and university does recruitment differently so for me to be able to experience a UMKC recruitment and to see what their vision of recruitment looked like was awesome! During each day and stage of assisting with the process it blew me away to see the strong work ethic and dedication that the chapter held. Each sister genuinely wanted to make recruitment an impactful experience for every potential new member walking through the door. This was reiterated to me each night, when the four sisters I was staying with who lived in a house on campus would share their stories of why they joined the chapter and their hope that recruitment would be a time to have potential new members relate to those reasons.

“ASA made me feel alive again.”

During my visit, each sister left a mark on my heart, but as I look back on that time two stories stand out to me. The first was told to me the night before the last day of recruitment, known as Preference Ceremony. This sister had been sitting on the couch at the house I was staying at and looked intensely focused on the notepad in front of her. This was signaled by me startling her a bit when I had come downstairs. I apologized and that was the start of our two hour conversation. It turned out she had been writing her preference ceremony speech and could not seem to find the right words to share about her testimony in ASA. However, as she recounted her journey of growing up with a mother who became an alcoholic and the ways it has impacted her family, I wished that every single potential new member could have been there. As this sister to me was an example of strength, selflessness and positivity in the midst of adversity. The ways that she rose above each obstacle, took care of others in her life, especially her younger sister and always carried hope for her mom to be sober again one day had me in awe. She spoke of how ASA made her feel alive again as it gave her confidence, happiness and most of all sisters who were always there for her. It gave her the chance to see what she was made of and the opportunity to strive towards values and ideals that she held close to her heart. At the end of her story that had us both in tears, I offered her the advice to write her testimony how she just told it to me. Hearing it the next day at Preference Ceremony, I remember instantly feeling as if someone had pushed a rewind button thinking of the previous night when she had shared it with me and looking around the room I saw the tears from potential new members and sisters that had filled our eyes the night before.

“Finding ASA.”

The second story, I had the opportunity to hear different pieces of throughout the week, as I worked closely with this sister each day. She always had a smile on her face and wore her heart on her sleeve. However, as I met with her one morning she revealed to me that her mother had passed away from cancer a few years before. Instantly, I remember my heart sinking at the thought of her painful loss, but even as she recounted certain memories she still had a smile on her face. She spoke about the amazing person her mom was, how she wanted to celebrate her life and how she needed to be strong for her younger sister who was only 16. She blew me away with how she chose to handle such an awful situation and how she was such a ray of sunshine, despite all she had been faced with. When I asked her how she made it through everything, I will always remember her two word response, “Finding ASA.” She recalled how sisters were there with shoulders to lean on, a smile to brighten her day and helping hands with anything she needed. At the end of the week during her Preference Ceremony testimony she discussed how ASA was the family she could turn to and her saving grace that kept her going. It was moving throughout the week to hear from sisters the ways that they looked up to her and how she kept them going, which was signified by all their expressions on Preference night when she told her story.

I have numerous memories and stories from my time visiting the sisters of the Theta Omicron chapter, but below are some highlights:

1. Homemade tacos with Jasmine, Casi, Amber and Autumn.

2. Ernie (the dog that was at the house I stayed at) who greeted me each day I got back from campus.

3. Winstead’s with the chapter president Amanda.

4. Recruitment practices =)

5. Late night talks with sisters who visited the house I was staying at =)

6. Working with the dedicated advisors =)

7. Finding out that the chapter would be welcoming 23 new members! AHHHH!!!

8. Singing “Call Me Maybe” on the car ride to Walgreens!

9. An emotional Preference Ceremony.

10. Exploring the campus of UMKC…while getting lost a few times.lol.

Each sister I came across and the chapter as a whole taught me so many valubale lessons and impacted my life in ways that are indescribable.

It is often said that the start of your journey brings about the start of your inspiration and that is exactly what happened.

For more information on the University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC) be sure to check out: http://www.umkc.edu/

To support the lovely ladies of the Theta Omicron Chapter of ASA be sure to like their page on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150943366300742.435678.674510741&type=3#!/alphasigumkc?fref=ts

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May today bring you an adventure of your own,

~Jenn

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The Power of Reflection

Have you ever taken the time to look back at an experience in your life? If so, what did that look like?

Reflection is a powerful gift. It allows us to travel to different times in our lives and gives us the opportunity to take in every detail of those memories. It allows us to delve deeper, learn lessons and realize our potential. Most of all, it provides the chance to learn about ourselves and others, which is a never ending journey!

Countless amazing places traveled to, meeting and getting to know hundreds of remarkable young women, visiting eleven unique chapters and serving one organization that continues to change lives everywhere brings me a reflection of a beautiful mosaic of memories and stories that will last for a lifetime. As I reflect, I find that trying to describe and fully put into words the last three months of being a Leadership Consultant for Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority is difficult. It is hard to do justice to an experience that has impacted my life and my heart in so many ways. Furthermore, it is hard to express a journey that I wish I had the opportunity to take every single one of you on with me. However, I will do my very best to recount memories, experiences and stories from each place and chapter that has changed my life for the better…forever.

As I look back at journal entries written on plane rides, during times before bed or in the early mornings, I realize even more that nothing could have prepared me for the ways God moved within my travels. It only takes one experience, one person or one common passion to change the course of your life. However, that change whether at the time we are fully able to grasp it or not has the power to impact beyond anything that we can try to imagine. For it is how we use, learn from or make a difference with that change that really matters.

It is my hope that over the next two weeks as I reflect on my journey over this past semester, that it will inspire you to reflect on the one that God has placed before you. For it is simple to get caught up in the chaos of life, but without taking the time to look back on where we have been, take in where we are in the present and envision our desires for the future, I believe we miss out on the opportunity to fully embrace the adventure that has become our own.

I look forward to finally getting the chance to share my time on the road with you all!

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May today bring you an adventure of your own,

~Jenn

Encouragement Makes All the Difference

“I understand that a few encouraging words from me can be the difference between a weary president who quits and one who perseveres; between the member who becomes lost and the one who moves one row closer to the front; between the advisor who drifts away and the one who re-engages.” ~Road Warriors Blog

From the Inside Out

From the Inside Out

Training Week #3- July 16-20

What life skills have you been equipped with through various individuals in your life to help you be the best you that you can be? Do all of these skills allow you to live out your values and beliefs?

Being able to have someone teach skills and techniques that will help cultivate lifelong success is a valuable experience that should never be taken for granted. It is the simplest of things that I believe often separates us from being one step closer to what we are trying to accomplish because far too often we try to do it without the help of others. However, if there has been anything I have had reiterated even more through this journey of being a Leadership Consultant and one that I will ALWAYS view as important, it is this: PEOPLE NEED PEOPLE.

Without the help from staff members presenting on various topics and providing their knowledge each week we would not grow, learn and realize how we can incorporate certain skills into our own lives. I feel that in order to teach others, you must first be willing to listen, learn and take advice from those around you. It has truly been an honor for me to have all the staff members working with all of us consultants on how to put into action our learning and educating us with life skills we will utilize far after our consultant days are finished.

This week we were presented with the knowledge and existence of the following FIVE life skills:

1. Being financially savvy

Aside from learning how to help chapters that we will be working with formulate realistic budgets for each semester depending on their needs and wants, we were given tools to help manage our money while on the road. By tracking more efficiently what I am spending my money on, I feel like I am becoming more financially responsible with my purchases and able to help others more J

2. Living out the ASA Brand

One of my most favorite memories from this week was learning from our Communications and Marketing Coordinator more about the background of our Alpha Sigma Alpha brand! It was amazing to see how the journey of rebranding started to produce the end result we see today! However, I learned that our brand can only be at its best when we are taking the time and making the effort to live it out on a daily basis. After all, you cannot stand for something and make others understand it more if you are not making it a part of your life. As someone passionate about public relations this part of training was very fascinating! Also, I am a firm believer that no matter what, all of us Greek brothers and sisters are ALWAYS wearing our letters and that our actions and attitude should at all times and in all places reflect our values and ideals that our founders worked so hard to establish. Ever wonder why some people do not have the best perception of Greek Life? A huge reason could be that they do not see enough of us living out what we stand for.

To learn more about the Alpha Sigma Alpha brand please visit: http://www.alphasigmaalpha.org/alpha-sigma-alpha-interactive/news/201-brand-new-brand-launch.html

3. A little bit goes a long way

I am a strong believer in the Alpha Sigma Alpha Foundation! Gaining knowledge on the ways in which it is helping sisters and chapters everywhere is truly extraordinary! There are scholarships awarded to sisters based on merit and assistance provided to chapters and the organization as a whole that is responsible for all of the educational programming that is put on each year. This programming is vital to helping our members in striving to live each of their days to its ultimate good J No donation is too small in helping this endeavor, which is why all of us Leadership Consultants decided to give back by making individual contributions of $5 per month to helping further the cause that is a backbone to education in our organization. After all, without many of the programs that it funds we would not all be the women we are today!k

To learn more about how the Alpha Sigma Alpha Foundation is providing impactful learning please visit: http://www.alphasigmaalpha.org/foundation.html

4. Creating impact

Ever wonder what goes into big events? Well we had the chance to meet with our Event Coordinator to discuss the upcoming District Days and Leadership Development Institute event that will take place this year. She gave us a neat look into the day in the life of planning, preparation and execution of for these two major events! It was incredible to see how everything comes together to create an impactful experience for our members and volunteers J It made me in awe to see all of the skills and abilities necessary for putting on the best possible events we can!

To learn more about the events that Alpha Sigma Alpha provides its members please visit: http://www.alphasigmaalpha.org/collegians/member-resources/events.html

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5. Kits to colonization, expansion and recruitment

I absolutely LOVE colonization, expansion and recruitment for a variety of reasons, but the most major one is because of the opportunity I know it will provide for women to find out who they are through learning, growth and sisterhood! Having the chance to flip through manuals and to see the process of all three of these major things and how they work is something I always only dreamed of. Plus knowing I will have the experience of seeing, hearing or being able to help with all three of these things is something I cannot quite put into words, except that I am definitely looking forward to it A LOT!

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What were some life skills you were able to learn today through your job that will be utilized for years to come? Sometimes we can become so caught up in what we are doing that we forget to take the time to see how it not only impacts our lives professionally, but personally as well. I believe that the best kind of work is the type that allows you to find out more about who you are, as you are preparing or are helping others J

May today bring you an adventure of your own,

~Jenn

ASA Staff

ASA Staff

All the staff that passionately works hard and helps further ASA 🙂 It is still so surreal to me that I am now a part of that.