For you to understand my legacy on Leadership Safari, you would need to know my story of why Central Michigan University left a legacy on me. Throughout high school, I was always asked if I was my sister’s sibling. I was never seen as my own person, as someone who had a clean slate coming into the big leagues. I was afraid this was going to happen again to me here at Central as I am a legacy of my older sister and mother who graduated Central Michigan University. But, I knew I had to make a name for myself and there was only one way to do so, and that was by getting involved.
So the first thing I did as a Central Michigan student was to attend Leadership Safari. On August 23, 2013, I said my first goodbye to my mother and father and suddenly became a “Killer Whale” with Ashlee Pietila as my guide. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, especially as I walked through the gauntlet with all these screaming upperclassmen surrounding me. I vividly remember everything that occurred that first week on campus. I remember being squished into Finch Fieldhouse being forced to meet 12 other family members with David Coleman. Sitting on the ground of the SAC eating my breakfast every morning feeling like I would never get any sleep or peace of quiet. The feeling of the turf nugs in every surface of my body as s my group dropped me in the trust fall. The sadness that overcame my body as The Asia Project talked about their hardships and the outlook he had on his life. But more importantly, these feelings didn’t deter me or make me quit getting involved. If anything, it pushed me further to become a leader on campus. My number one thing is the importance of inclusiveness and I knew the way to spread inclusiveness is to be the leader behind it all promoting it. But I would not of found my legacy and passion without the inclusiveness and love from my fellow Killer Whales as I was entering this unknown chapter of my life.
As the Safari week ended, I knew my love for this program would not. I quickly applied to become staff as soon as the application came out and patiently waited with my fingers crossed that I would get that interview and training schedule. Surprise, I was accepted! The next following summers, I became part of the Minion Yellow family, the Tux Black family,and this years-the Honolulu Blue family. Nothing beats the feeling of inclusiveness and family as Honolulu Blue made me feel, that Ohana family. We celebrated each others successes, each others problems, and wiped each others tears. We helped one another with the hundreds of questions that was asked every night, we glittered each others face and some possibly fell in the eye, we even tried the clip game but failed miserably-but all that matters is that we laughed through it all. And we all cared about the inclusiveness of each other. We made sure the CTeam felt included in everything we did, we made sure to scream “Blayne” every second we saw our runner or sadly had to say goodbye for the day, and we called our core guide “Nana Hannah”. But, being a Ranger for my first year, I was anything but nervous as my family made me feel included. They left the legacy on me by feeling comfortable asking those questions, by relying on me when Hannah could not, by venting and ranting to me whenever they needed it. So this isn’t a letter necessarily about my legacy, but the legacy Leadership Safari had on me. I have met roughly 10,000 people, I have dedicated over 400 hours of volunteer time, I have endless amounts of Safari swag, I have 4 families, but I had one legacy. As Peter Pan once said, “Never say goodbye, because saying goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.”