Sunday, May 25, 2014

Reflections on Disneyland - by Maureen

Three weeks ago, I was at Disneyland, the happiest place on Earth with some of my favourite people. I don’t know how it all went by so fast, a trip I’d anticipated for months is over now, and here I am writing this blog post with a cup of tea and a severe case of nostalgia as I reflect on some of the best days of my high school life.

The Walt Disney Company is one of the most iconic corporations in the world. With the success it’s had in the last century and continues to have today, it is nearly impossible to imagine a time where the company and Walt Disney himself weren’t quite so prosperous. Nevertheless, his perseverance was rewarded and his legacy is one that continues to inspire people, myself included.

Instead of trying to rack my brain in remembering and then regurgitating exactly what happened everyday we were there, I’m going to write about my favourite moments and why they hold the significance to me that they do. In chronological order of occurrence:

  1. Team building- On the first day, outside of space mountain we had an activity that required moving our teammates around various objects on the floor while the other person was blindfolded. My partner, Kartik, and I had a ton of communication issues- his life was my right, the size of a “step” was different for both of us and so on, but we worked through it and gradually began to trust each other more. The exercise was a model for teamwork and as someone who isn’t the biggest fan of group projects, I appreciated the need to problem solve and hope to apply the same skills into my future group work.
  1. Overcoming challenges- On day two, the focus was more on legacy and personal growth. Heights make me fairly uncomfortable, so when our program director for the day, Whitney, had us balance cones on our heads while walking across nets that were strung up high, I was more nervous than I let on. I kept clinging on the sides, feeling like I couldn’t move my legs and clinging on to sides of the net for dear life (I realize with hindsight that the structure was pretty safe but I didn’t in the moment). As the nets started sloping downwards, my heart beat even faster and one of my friends ahead of me decided it’d be funny to start jumping. Ignoring my shrieks of fear, he smiled and said “C’mon Maureen, people are going to mess with you in life” while others around me laughed and agreed. With no valid defense statement because he was right, I used it as motivation to keep going and finishing was accomplishing. This is somewhat cliché, but I loved how the activity was a metaphor for life.
  1. Screamin’ over California- This is the name of the huge rollercoaster at Disney’s California Adventure park. Known for its height and speed, it was the first “real” rollercoaster I’d ever been on and I got to experience it with one of the best friends I’ve made on student council, Shiraz. Even though he’s in Grade 8 and I’m in Grade 12, the friendships I’ve made this year know no age. It was his first major ride as well, and we spent so long debating if we should exit in the lineup. I’m so glad we didn’t, because it ended up being my favourite ride! I can’t think of anyone I’d want to share the experience with more. Also, after the ride another one of my younger friends told me that she was going to back out but when she saw me go on, she thought “[she] could do it too if Maureen could”. That still brings a smile to my face, I didn’t realize that I could make an impact like that and I hope to be a good role model, always. I’m so grateful for the relationships I’ve been able to build on student council this year.
  1. Photo Scavenger Hunt- I’m naturally competitive, and when I saw the teams for the scavenger hunt I was beyond excited. I remember looking at my teammates and pronouncing that losing was not an option. We won! I hope I keep this drive for the rest of my life, but also that I learn to accept losses too. Even if we’d lost, I won’t forget the amazing moments we had while searching for everything from a broom to a fish to Peter Pan
This trip was a once in a lifetime experience, and I’d just like to thank Ms. Becker, Mr. Neufeld, Vanessa, my parents, and the generous donations from admin for giving us this opportunity. And to my 20 incredible friends who went with me, thank you for the laughs, the sing-a-longs, and all of the unforgettable memories. <3

My Disney Experience - By Rashid

The trip to Anaheim and ultimately Disneyland was a truly amazing experience. I can confidently say it will be a highlight of my past, current, and future high school experiences. We learned so much about ourselves all while having fun at the same time. This trip taught me so much that I will remember it for the rest of my life. Throughout the workshops, we learned many valuable lessons.
On the first day in Disney Park, the workshop was about what it takes to be a leader. I learned that I have to be confident, respectable, a role model, and many other positive characteristics. This particular workshop reminded me that no matter how hard the challenges placed in front of me are, I AM POSSIBLE. That message really stuck to me because there are always tough challenges that I don’t feel confident I can conquer but I need to remember that there is always a way. Walt Disney is truly an inspirational man. He was able to conquer any challenge put in front of him. I find that very inspirational and to get me to keep on striving towards my goals.

Day two in Anaheim was at California Adventures.  We learned about leaving a legacy behind and establishing your own brand. Leaving a legacy behind is very important because people now and future generations will remember you as this type of person. This taught me that I need to aim to at least be kind to everyone because that’s the type of character I want to be associated as. I need to aim to do remarkable things and I’m sure all of us as leaders can do that. During the balancing cones on your head part of the workshop, the metaphor taught me to always stay positive. Even though there are plenty of flaws in me, I need to stay positive and remind myself that I can do anything I put my mind to.

The third day we had a scavenger hunt back in the Disney Park. Myself and my team mates (Nica, Pallvi and Anika) all learned how to co-operate and strategize. Even though that day was a mostly a free time day, our team was confident and worked together in sync. We put the leadership skills we learned to the test and it was a great experience.

This was my first time in Disneyland and it was an unbelievable experience. The trip was so amazing because we all grew a lot closer and had tons of fun. We got to meet many of our favourite Disney characters and go on plenty of rides. I got to meet two of my favorite Disney characters, Aladdin and Woody which was really great. Many of us finally conquered our fears of some rides and definitely enjoyed going on them. I’m sure everyone agrees that California Screamin’ was definitely a favorite. Lots of amazing food was eaten. I absolutely loved the Dole Whip; the lineups were worth it! The souvenirs I bought were definitely money well spent! Every time I look at my lightsaber and water-spraying fan, Disney will always pop back in my head. My first time in Disney was truly flawless and amazing and there aren’t enough words to describe how awesome it was! My only regret is that we didn’t get to spend more time in Disneyland! This trip was fantastic and I hope that I can go on more with the school in the future!

Friday, May 16, 2014

"It's kind of fun to do the impossible" - by Janelle

Going on this trip was just truly amazing. I really don't believe I can come up with words to describe how magical and breathtaking it is in Disneyland, because all those memories and lessons were just an amazing thing to experience. This will be a trip I will never ever forget!

"I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn't know how to get along without it." - Walt Disney

With the YES program, I learned so much about being a leader that I never knew about. Before Disneyland, I don't think I could exactly say what I think a leader is. After the trip, I learned we need to be creative, constant, confident, and curious. I learned that there will always be somebody there, someone trying to knock you off your track to success because they know you have the ability get there someday. People will throw negative words and actions at you, but you can't let that affect you and your legacy. We've all got big dreams inside of us, we may not know it yet. 

Walt Disney once said, "It's kind of fun to do the impossible." And it really is. I think that my favourite part of the leadership training by far was when we had to draw down what our goals in life were, and a couple words describing what it related to. Then we were told to write "IMPOSSIBLE" on our dream. Now that really sticks in your brain. You can choose to let it throw you off track, or you can use it as motivation. Even the word itself says, "I'm Possible."

I will never forget the amazing things that the YES program taught us, and these training sessions really have made an impact on my life and the kind of leader I want my peers to see me as. Everybody wants to leave a legacy.

Thank you so much to Mrs. Becker, the YES program, and all of Disneyland for an amazing experience! :)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

"There is a child in us all" - by Japnit

As a wise man once said, " There is a child in us all."   There are just some things that stay with you as you grow older and this trip to Los Angeles has been a trip of a lifetime. It's hard to explain the ever so perfect moments that happened over a short, but sweet five days. It wasn't just a trip to all of us, it was a chance to escape our own set boundaries and experience new food, try new things, but most of all, it was a chance for us to grow closer together as a group. 

Looking back at our time in Disneyland Resort, there is nothing but laughter, personal growth, and new found friendships. Just three days of workshops in the park itself have made me see myself and my peers in a different light. I've learned to push beyond the reasons why you aren't able to accomplish something, and find a way to change, or adapt the situation to make it work. This trip has taught me the power of teamwork and showed me that there is always a reason to be happy.

Disneyland is a place of magic. It truly is. The atmosphere, the people and the beloved characters create an environment that one can explore endlessly. It reminds me of everything pure about life and it was a place, for all of us, to touch base on a part of us that we lose as we grow up; our imagination. 

This trip has taught me that no goal is too high and no dream is too big. I've learnt that you have the power to create whatever you please, and if you are mentally strong, all your dreams can come true. It's just a matter of believing in them. As Walt Disney once said, " It's kind of fun to do the impossible."  Impossible. This word itself means " I am Possible." We all live to be inspired, and this experience has been exactly that. This trip has made me change the way I see myself, it has taught me to stop thinking that I can't do it, and it has made me see that I am here for a reason.

It was only five days, but our group left Bellingham, as a council but we landed, a family. Our group constantly singing Frozen songs throughout the trip, our airport jam sessions and our insane obsession with Beyonce. From our herd-like pack movement to silly group shots in Paradise Pier, there are uncountable memories that were made. It was truly a magical trip, not just because of the magic we experienced, but also the magic that we brought back with ourselves. I now have silly stories that we will constantly reminess about, and pictures that will make us tear up every once in a while but in the end, I have my second family, and my entire experience, to look back on, and simply smile. It was a chance for us to break free of our daily routines and take a chance, go on an adventure. For all of us, it was the happiest place on earth.

And as a wise man once said, "what happens in LA, stays in LA." 

Disney, Where Dreams Come True - by Sajini

My Disneyland experience was a great adventure that helped me grow and develop as a person and a leader. It taught me about what kind of brand I want to have and how to achieve my goals and dreams. Having academic and personal goals that almost all say is unattainable and that its time to be “realistic” weigh you down and make it feel like its time to get rid of your dreams and to think rationally, but after this trip I now have a response to all these people, “if not me, then who?”. I now have a newfound determination that is already helping me fight to achieve my goals.

“ If you can dream it, you can do it” - Walt Disney

Determination is a word that stood out to me during this whole trip. The meaning of this word only affected me the moment i stepped foot back home. It gave me the energy to start my future and to not quit no matter how big the obstacles are because you never know how close you are to making your dream into everyone else’s reality. My new found determination taught me to let everyone else say what they want and do as they will because what they do doesn't affect me at the end of the day or five years from now. My dream can make a difference and will bring me success and happiness and all the doubts should make me want to achieve higher success.

“ All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them” - Walt Disney

During this trip I also learned about being a leader and a great role model to base good leadership on is Walt Disney. One of his amazing theory’s that really changed my perspective is the “yes, if” tactic. This tactic is about always saying yes to new ideas but to add the “if” because that questions the persons idea but lets them figure out all the appropriate answers that would back up his or hers opinion without bluntly refusing others opinions. This shows good leadership because it shows how open you are to ideas of others and the willingness to hear the thoughts of other people beside yourself.

“You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality” - Walt Disney

This trip was an adventure for me and really took me out of my comfort zone and not only taught me many things about growing as an individual of a community but also that you can find new friendship with people you would least expect. I left home with an exciting thought in mind about getting to experience the hot California sun with friends and enjoy the small vacation but I came back with thoughts for my future, new leadership qualities and new friends. 

“We keep moving forward opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps bringing us down new roads” - Walt Disney

Thinking of a Magical World - Reflections by Jennah

As I write this blog post on the 14th of May, I am thinking of exactly two weeks ago when I was in the magical world of Disneyland.  Disneyland is known for being an amusement park that inspires people to be joyful and create exciting memories.  Disneyland is a place where dreams come true; and two weeks ago, I learnt a lot about my dreams and how to achieve them.

Everyone knows about Walt Disney, but after hearing about his journey in depth, I am truly inspired.  Walt Disney is one of my role models because he was a true leader. He left such strong legacies, which now motivates me to always reach for the stars. One thing I really enjoyed was learning about Walt’s 4 C’s to success: constancy, confidence, courage, and curiosity. Success doesn’t mean everything will come easy in life-there is always going to be obstacles and people who don’t believe in you.  I’ve learnt to use this as a motivation, driving me to accomplish what I am capable of.  Walt Disney faced so many challenges throughout his journey, and now experiencing his success just encourages me to strive even more.  I want to always live up to my potential, because “I am Possible” – another concept we discussed. Walt Disney followed his dreams and has created a place that inspires and motivates so many people.  I am so glad we participated in the Youth Education Series, because of them as our leaders they have really inspirited me to always try my best, and never give up.

One dream I’ve always had was to travel with friends.  I am so glad I got the opportunity to attend this trip because I got to know so many more people and branch off to peers I haven’t really talked to.  I learnt so much about how to improve my leadership skills, which also helped me become more outgoing and better able to communicate with some of my fellow leaders.  We learnt that being a leader isn’t just an independent thing; it requires teamwork and engaging with others. I have built friendships that I am so forever grateful for, and I hope to keep for a long while.   Student Council is no longer a club; we are a family!  There are so many memories that I will cherish from this trip.  I am so glad I got to participate in this adventure with such an amazing group of people.  I will always look back to this trip in the future, and I know for sure the values I have learnt I will apply from here on.  Thank you to everyone who made this trip possible and unforgettable!


Monday, May 12, 2014

"3......2......1......IMAGINE" - a reflection by Kartik

Embarking on this journey, my oh my. Little did I know what I had in store for me. Disneyland. Noun. Trademark. A large amusement park in Anaheim, California: prototypical theme park. Here’s what I say to that: Not good enough. Here’s my definition. Disneyland (n): A place where imagination takes over, capturing the essence of your inner child, the feeling of adrenaline infused with passion, ready to burst out in jubilation!

Yes! The magic of Disneyland, we’re finally here! After an agonizing wait period, and sleepless nights of anticipation, we made it. Student Council has arrived. From the intricate, minuscular details to the largest, splendorous, simple ideas, the Disneyland Youth Education Series harboured it all. I learned a variety of new concepts at these workshops. Visionaries, Imagineers, Youth Leaders come across a multitude of obstacles in their paths. One of the core values that I learned was that there will always, always be someone who will say that you aren’t good enough, or that your ideas won’t work. Use this not as a setback, but as encouragement, motivation, take that stride of ambition and believe. You may have to think outside the box, you may have to use wit beyond measure; you may also need a strong group of people – leaders. And I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people. 
Over this journey, I got to know so many new people, and developed stronger connections with the ones I already knew. Normally, I would just say a greeting to these people whenever I see them, I didn’t really know them, but this trip has allowed me to break free out of this small comfort zone, and has allowed me to become acquainted with, become friends with these people – more than friends, family. One of the things that I am truly grateful for taking away is the memories, the laughs, the pains of walking, and the daily dehydration of the incandescent sun. Paying $3.00 for a water bottle, multiple times a day, is a mistake some would say. Carelessness. I call it, a learning experience! Because when you come to Disneyland, you leave all your worries behind, and take on an adventure, learning new and enriching, and insightful knowledge that you would often miss when in the real world. So walk a little slower, as they try to catch your eye. Sometimes it’s so hard to see, the good things passing by. Imaginations hold no limit on us. They only allow us to embrace the impossible, or as we learned I’m Possible. Walking into Disneyland tomorrow, dictionary in hand, there would be no room for the world finite.  Because infinite would be written all over it. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

My Disney Adventures by Kiran

While at Disneyland for a leadership program, I learned and experienced many things I had not before. Overall the involvement was incredible and I learned so much about, not only leading, but myself and my peers. I learned facts about Walt Disney himself, how I look at the world personally and how I can engage and become a better leader. During my time there, I found that Student Council got a lot closer and started to know each other as better friends rather than just peers. This trip was very meaningful to me because I learned so much from the leadership activities that makes me want to strive to become a better leader, I personally feel that this experience is way different from going alone or with family because you also learned so much about and from your peers.  I always thought Disney was just another place, but it truly is the happiest place on Earth. Some of my favourite moments was the World Of Colour show, meeting characters such as Aladdin and Jasmine and of course just spending time with my Student Council (and dance) friends! 

"Flawless" - Disney Reflection by Pallvi to describe my experience in one word, FLAWLESS. The Disneyland Leadership Retreat, a four night/day trip to Anaheim, California was probably the highlight of my high school experience. Going with members of Student Council, Dance Teams members, and other leaders throughout the school It’s safe to say we always had a leadership role placed in front of us, whether it was waking up on time or going to our meet-up place on time. All along our trip we managed to spread a positive vibe to those around us (ex. After the World of Color Show in California Adventure on our way out of the park we randomly started singing frozen songs like "let it go" and "do you wanna build a snowman?") This trip has taught me a lot about pushing yourself and being you… 2 things that go hand in hand.

One experience that I’m going to write about took place on our 2nd day in California Adventure Park.  During the workshop we were told to balance objects while going through a series of obstacles and in the beginning I was really focused on not dropping my object (which I balanced on my head). While doing I became so invested in worrying about not dropping it, which didn’t work because it was dropping multiple times. After we stopped halfway we were told that we had to hold 2 objects and I looked around.. and decided to help out a friend that look a little more worried than me. I walked over to my friend and helped her through it. I’m not saying that the objects didn’t fall they did. But when my friend and I went through the obstacles, walking downhill, or maintaining balance I tried relating it to life and saying to not worry and to keep going because in life sometimes you’ll need to be able to struggle and go out of your comfort zone in order to succeed. Near the end, two other friends started jumping on the net web and my friend started saying not to do that and to stop, but I told my friend to keep going because sometimes in life people will try to get on your nerves  and stop you from getting to your dreams and it’s important to learn to maintain your balance and keep going.
Basically this obstacle course was an analogy for life.  You need to keep going and no matter what others try doing to get you off balance, whether its in an activity or In real life, it’s important to stay firm to what you believe in. This is one of the many things that I learnt in Disneyland.

I’m super grateful that I, a student at Sullivan Heights secondary got an opportunity to go participate in a leadership workshop in Disneyland, learning about leadership, something I love to do while making memories that will last a lifetime.

Thanks so much to all administration and ESPECIALLY Ms. Becker, thanks so much for putting the time and effort into this trip I can’t put into words how grateful I am. I think other students should definitely have the opportunity to go onto these trips. (:

"I AM POSSIBLE", by Dominique

A lot of people will tell you that there were events that really changed them as a person.
Whether that was meeting their favourite celebrity, talking to inspiring people or just soaking up an experience, it changed them.
For me, this trip really did that.

I'm a confident person most of the times.
But when things outside of school started happening over the past little while
(I'm fine, I promise ☺ ) 
I lost that confidence and started replacing it with doubt.
This lead to negativity
which lead to many other things.

The workshops really helped with that. 
Particularly when Kimmi, our Disney Youth teacher, 
told us to draw out our dreams and write out what she was about to say next. 

I wrote down "I AM POSSIBLE" 
but in actuality, she spelled the word
"I M P O S S I B L E". 
It really had me surprised, 
but it also got me thinking. 

My mind; like all the self-conscious minds in the world, 
was consciously scared, worried and horribly doubtful. 
Meaning that whenever I thought about it, 
I was doubtful,
I was scared 
and I was a worry-wart. 
But unconsciously, 
or naturally without even thinking, 
I'm confident,
and wonderfully and fascinatingly ready for anything. 
It made me realize that, maybe, I AM able to do things. 
I AM able to reach my dreams. 
I AM possible. 

What happened next was a blur of fireworks and water shows.

Now, this feels like this ended too suddenly,
but I’m not sure what else to write.

I just know I’m happier now.

Reflections, by Shiraz

I learned so much on this trip. Walt Disney was an amazing visionary in his field. He was a pioneer in imagination, an idea seemingly foreign to people of his era. He created the first amusement park of his area, the first animated full length feature, and created a huge corporation that has lasted for decades. However, there were many struggles that he had to overcome. He lost the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, which was a huge loss for him. To resolve this, he changed Oswald's features, to create Mortimer Mouse, who was a popular hit. He only had a limited amount of space to build Disneyland, but he solved this by using forced perspective. This made Disneyland look way bigger than it was. When people told him he couldn't do it, he had the courage and confidence to prove them wrong. Walt stood for 4 values. Confidence, Constancy, Curiosity, and Creativity. He showed this with 4 lands representing the 4 values. He left a legacy of inspiration, creativity, and imagination. All of which still impact us, even to this day. He is a role model for me, and for the rest of youth my age. I am so grateful for this trip. It taught me things in ways that I will never forget. Thank you, Mrs. Becker!! :)