Monday, 30 January 2012

What I'm Into

Being busy has almost become second nature to me. With sports, school groups and music, it can become a little overwhelming at times, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I get something different and novel out of every different activity I take part in, so juggling the million and one things at once is worth it in the end!

I try to be as involved as I can be in my school, by being a member of my school’s Leadership Team and the Treasurer of its Student Council. Membership in these two groups has allowed me to become an active part of the student body and to plan and take part in some really great spirit activities at my school. Groups like Leadership Team and Student Council are essential to a high school, because they’re responsible for boosting morale and for bringing the school community together and I’m proud to say I can help them to do so.

I also act as a Recruitment Officer for the Canadian Blood Services at my school. My job is to sign up students above the age of 16 to give blood, and to assist in any way during the actual clinic, which is held in the school gym. Being able to help out with such a tremendous cause is empowering and rewarding, and I am proud to say that through the recruitment initiatives we undertook at our last clinic, we had the biggest turnout the Queen Elizabeth Regional High has seen in years!

I also volunteer outside of my school with the Conception Bay South Youth Advisory Council. This group is a community-sponsored initiative to get young people involved in volunteer and community service activities, and is a great opportunity to give back to the town. As a member of the YAC, I help out at town events such as Guy Fawkes Night, New Year’s activities and CBS Winterfest. We also played an important role at when CBS hosted Hockeyville 2011 by volunteering at the rinks and serving hot drinks.

In addition to volunteering, sports have always been a sweet spot of mine. I play both badminton and volleyball, and have had the chance to compete both provincially and nationally. Through volleyball, I have competed at the Provincial 4A Championships, at Volleyfest and Volleycentral, at the Midget +1 Provincial Championships and at several invitational tournaments in the past. Through badminton, I have competed provincially at the 4A Provincial Championships and at the Provincial Junior Championships, and have represented my province at the Atlantic Junior Championships, at the Jeux de l’Acadie and at the Jeux de la francophonie canadienne. I love playing sports – especially the challenge, the excitement and the camaraderie that they bring.

Along with sports and volunteering, music has always played an important role in my life. Since elementary school, I have participated in concert bands, jazz bands and choirs, and have enjoyed every second of it. Currently, I am a member of my school’s Choir and Jazz Band (I play trombone and baritone), as well as Shallaway – Newfoundland and Labrador Youth in Chorus. There’s something special about making music, and I hope I can continue making music in the future.

I love being involved in my school, in sports, in music, and in my community. It is so rewarding to participate in all of these activities and to be involved in such great organizations. 

Sunday, 18 December 2011

A TED Talk That Inspires Me

In this TED Talk, Charlie Todd discusses the flash mobs and impromptu stunts put off by Improv Everywhere, an organization he founded, which is dedicated to brightening peoples' days by zany and funny shared experiences. Charlie talks about how shared experiences alter the way we act and perceive things, and about the merit behind doing a flash mob. To his mind (and to mine), as long as you're having fun, it doesn't matter what you're doing! Charlie inspires me to live my life to its fullest, doing something that makes me feel happy.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

All About Me

My name is Patrick Butler and I am a leader.

I have always had an interest in leadership and volunteerism, and since an early age, I have been steadily involved in leadership activities and organizations, both in my community and at school. I believe that leadership skills are valuable in everything we do, and that in order to be successful, leadership and hard work are required.

My first leadership experiences probably occurred in sports. Playing a sport requires practice and physical fitness of course, but an important piece of any game is mental toughness and confidence. This is especially true in team sports, where the team is only as good as its weakest link. I play volleyball, and over the 5 years during which I have played the sport, I have realized how important leadership is in playing to the best of your ability. Leaders are required to keep the team focused, to encourage the team, and to speak out when something is wrong or someone isn’t pulling their weight. Without leadership, sports wouldn't be as magnetic or as exciting, because comebacks, high-light reels and surprise victories wouldn’t exist. Without leadership, how could you motivate a team to win in the first place?

After getting my first taste of leadership from sports, I became involved in school leadership groups such as Student Council and Leadership Team, as well as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which encourages youth to become involved in volunteerism, leadership, and recreation. These groups really helped me realize my potential as a leader, and to become more involved in making a difference in my school and in my community. I have since become an active member of these organizations, and have been able to help organize and put off some great events. Recently, as a part of my school's Student Council, I conducted a Blood Donor Clinic, put off a Vow of Silence (an activity in support of those without freedom of speech), and am in the midst of planning my school’s annual Winter Carnival. Also, in September, as a representative of my school's Leadership Team, I took part in the Canadian Student Leadership Conference in Corner Brook.

Just like in sports and in school and community organizations, leadership qualities are important in music. I am a member of Shallaway – Newfoundland and Labrador Youth in Chorus, and this organization has helped me to develop and practice my leadership abilities just as much as anything else. Through the choir, I have developed a better ability to work with others and listen – very important leadership qualities. When singing in a choir,  just as much energy is expended on listening to those around you as is to singing (surprisingly enough) and I believe that practicing listening and teamwork in a choral setting has strengthened my capacity to listen and cooperate with others on a regular basis. Also, as a choir is more or less a team, we have to work out problems amongst ourselves and come together to sing to the best of our ability. My involvement with Shallaway has also presented me with some exciting opportunities for travel – something I am very passionate about. Through international touring, I have been able to visit France, Belgium, the Netherlands, China, Cuba, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Austria and each of these places has had an effect on me and helped me learn and grow. In traveling to each of these places, I have been able to compare my culture and life to that of others, and this has allowed me to develop greater understanding and empathy. Shallaway has without a doubt helped me to become a better leader and person.

Leadership is something which, to me, is not easily defined, but which is easily perceived. It is easy for me to pick out someone as being a leader, but difficult to explain exactly why or how. I believe leadership can be displayed in myriad forms, whether it be leading a revolution or simply setting an example for others to follow. Sometimes, leadership is simply a decision to do something the right way instead of the easy way. Being a leader has influenced me in many different ways, and it is something very important to me. Without leadership, my life certainly would not be the same.