ALS 7-11  Journey 7-11Young leaders from across the state of Maryland arrived at Washington College yesterday to participate in a week of fun, learning, and leadership. The MLW staff have been developing the programs for months and they could barely contain their excitement as they finally saw their delegates in person during registration.

Moments after their parents left, delegates began learning one another’s names and playing silly games, setting up a group bond that will allow them to step outside their comfort zones and practice their leadership skills as well as have an amazing time.

The two programs onsite this week are Journey and Advanced Leadership Seminar (ALS), both boutique programs that have been specifically designed for this particular group of participants.


ALS is a program for advanced young leaders, most of whom have attended MLW’s Senior High Workshop. We have 22 delegates in this year’s cohort. This program is directed by second-year director Mehran Hossaini.

Sunday at ALS started with get-to-know games, a campus tour, and the theme reveal (Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief is this year’s theme!), before diving into a Public Speaking Seminar, led by former Senior High Workshop director Annie Coble. Delegates prepared “POP speeches” before coming to site, so having a public speaking workshop right off the bat sets them up for success as they will share their POP speeches with one another throughout the week. Ask your child to share his/her POP speech to see their public speaking growth!

Sunday continued with the first session of Practicum, where delegates get the opportunity to implement their leadership skills in a real world project. This year’s ALS delegates will create a curriculum guide and plans that will provide Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy participants with leadership skills. The curriculum will be used for a half-day session during an instructive afterschool program. Later this week, ALS delegates will travel to DC to visit the Academy! You can learn more about the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy here:

On Monday, ALS delegates attended their first workshop, titled You Are The Sum Of What? This workshop was facilitated by MLW Professional Development Director Michael Burgan and Program Committee chair Sterling Grimes. Delegates created “Webs of Life,” where they made maps of the experiences, interests, and people that have influenced their lives and contexts. Ask your child to share his/her Web of Life with you! Delegates also got an opportunity to learn more about effective use of social media in a seminar led by former Senior High Workshops director Dustin Jeter. These are just two of the many highlights from the jam-packed day.


Journey is a program specifically for middle school girls from Howard County, and support for Journey has been provided by The Women’s Giving Circle, a fund of the Howard County Community Foundation. There are 27 Journey girls this year and the program is directed by Howard County native Jessica Qiu! This year’s Journey theme is Journey Jungle.

Sunday at Journey started with get-to-know games like Mingle Mingle, allowing the girls to learn each other’s names before diving into curriculum. The first workshop was Project Planning, setting the girls up for success as they are going to be planning and implementing quite a few projects this week! Veteran MLW staff member Devan Ogburn and former ALS director Stephanie Barnes taught the girls about SMART goals, contingency planning, troubleshooting, and project planning, implementation, and evaluation. Ask your daughter what the SMART in SMART goals stands for, and what PPIE stands for.

Program Committee member Olivia Keithley then led a seminar entitled What is Leadership? What is Feminism? Delegates looked at a timeline of historical events affecting women as well as different statistics about equality and women in leadership roles around the world. This workshop laid the groundwork for a lot of the curriculum the girls will be experiencing this week.

On Monday the girls attended a Self Awareness workshop, led by staffer Alexya Brown and director Jessica Qiu. They identified their personal leadership styles as well as their strengths, hopes, and dreams. Ask your child whether her leadership style is a D, I, S, C, or a combination! They then went into group meeting, where they played games and had a blast, furthering the group bond.

Monday afternoon they started their Capstone Project, which is the opportunity for the girls to implement the leadership skills they are learning throughout the week. They are tasked with planning a day-long leadership/empowerment conference for middle school girls. They will present their plans to the Women’s Giving Circle on Thursday of this week! They then attended Filter This!, a workshop led by staffers Devan Ogburn and Kimmy Bailey. Delegates analyzed the portrayal of women in the media, evaluated the role of social media in their lives, and discussed the outcomes of social media presence. Ask your daughter to share her #likeagirl tweet.

The girls closed the night out with Zumba, a high-energy dance fitness class combining Latin and International dance music. They’re off to bed soon: they need a good night’s sleep before tomorrow’s big day at Echo Hill!