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Coming out of high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Visions of traveling the world floated through my mind. Those were quickly followed by dollar signs that I didn’t have. An opportunity presented itself north of Toronto, Ontario. Here I worked as part of the Property Management Team. We maintained the property, cut trees, hacked through the forest making new trails, and built a bridge. That week of experience made me a man. I cried a lot, but it made me a man. That was almost 10 years ago. That bridge is still standing.

Similar to building bridges, student leadership teams are a constant building project with three distinctive needs.

Needs Reinforcement
Those bridges that we built were built to last. We built them with the idea that we won’t have to rebuild them again. Anchors, walls, nails, screws and the odd mixture of cement have proven, to this day, that we did our job-and we did it well. Student leaders need the constant and consistent reinforcement in order for the seed that has been planted to stick. No matter what may come their way.

Needs Diversion
I didn’t believe it when I heard it. It was only when I saw it that I was taken back by the reality of the situation. Seeing a huge slab of ice rolling down the river, taking down everything in its path, is a scary thing. In order to protect our bridge, we built diversion walls to break apart the slabs before they got to the bridge. We must protect and divert all attacks against our student leaders. Leadership is tough enough already. Let us teach our students how to love, forgive, and love some more, before the battle begins.

Needs Maintenance
My favorite thing to do while I was up there was to spend the day painting the bridge. There’s nothing like taking a day, listening to the babbling brook, and painting a bridge. Strangely enough, it’s quite relaxing. However, the second time I had to do that, it wasn’t that enjoyable. Student leaders need that constant maintenance. It comes down to accountability, love, prayer, and relationship.

How is your bridge doing today?

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