It’s not difficult to find a beginning when you find yourself situated just before it. But, to be able to define anything that may unveil itself directly after? Unlikely. This is the space that I find myself in as I begin to grasp the first (maybe) tangible wisps of my Stretch Experience and remind myself for the thirty-fifth time to finally submit my verifier agreement.
Some beginnings end before they’ve even begun, as did my first round of proposal revisions. My original Stretch was geared towards maintaining the dignity of Edmonton’s homeless population and raising their standard of living; that is, of course, until the proposal was, as they say, “canceled”. The reasonably sculpted project was swapped for something much less tangible and much more complex. A stretch. Now, my project has rooted itself in empowering Edmontonian youth to approach solutions to societal shortcomings through a social innovation lens following a Dragon’s-Den-style pitch. Definitely a stretch. To tackle this project, I’ve joined forces with a local non-profit, Social Engagement and Empowerment Society (SEEDS).
When I was asked to be named the project manager within our group of mobilizers, I was taken back to a moment during lectures.
“Leadership is a gift word,” our professor stated.
One who deems themselves a leader on a mere whim is not truly a leader. Leadership is earned, not self-proclaimed. Another stretch. As this project comes to life, I hope to gift many youth the word “leader”. In turn, I hope to work towards earning such a gift as well.
As you go about breathing life into your own Stretch Experiences, I wish you all comfort in the ambiguous, countless new beginnings and the beautiful gift of leadership.
Written by Zainab Azhar