The Rotary Club of Niagara Falls Sunrise recently sent two young Niagara Falls youth, childhood friends, to a virtual Leadership program. The SLAPSHOT program (Student Leadership Award Program for Students High on Training) is unique to District 7090. This year a dedicated theme was LEADER (Learn, Evolve, Adapt, Discover, Energize Rotary). Last year the pandemic put the program on hold, but this year, a dedicated group of volunteers made it available virtually.
The week before a box arrived and included some interesting things, like modelling balloons and a mouse trap. It seemed interesting but the virtual part didn’t seem that exciting as the teenagers spend all day in a virtual classroom.   But it was the first session on-line that blew them out of the water, literally.  David and Arden and 38 other interesting youth met Fred a 94-year-old Rotarian from Welland who was able to blow up the balloon faster by mouth then these teenagers. “Here he is twisting his balloon like a dog as I was still trying to put it on the balloon pump. We had a poll on how long it was going to take, and his 2 seconds wasn’t even an option.”
Other items demonstrated that even when things seemed impossible they could be proved otherwise. Slapshot was eye opening and beneficial to the development of leadership skills. The program showed how to change from a fixed mindset to an open mindset. By bringing in guest speakers it easily conveyed the message of leadership to oneself and others.While David felt the variety of attendees, from other regions and even other countries made the learning exciting, Arden also added he was able to use the skills immediately at work and elsewhere in his life.
Slapshot taught both group and independent skills. David said he will forever feel part of the Slapshot community.  Arden like the concept of how to view the world as a variety of opportunities for learning.  Both of them agree, that the program showed them that each one of us can make more of a difference in the world.