Young students are commonly doubtful of themselves. Often they harbor a lack of self-confidence, due to an underestimation of their own capabilities. Because of this doubt, they often convince themselves that the goals they aim to reach are simply unattainable.

High school students are more familiar with these feelings than anyone else. But learning how to walk into this fear is essential to unleash the creative potential in each of us.

In early August, a group of Dayton students joined students from all over Oregon to embark on a four-day student leadership event held at the University of Oregon. It was organized by Seeds Training, a social learning company created primarily for youth. Their mission: to develop proactive learners and responsible leaders.

The program was funded by Oregon GearUP. They aim to promote early awareness of college opportunities and support innovation culture in academics. Oregon GearUP believes there is an importance in developing the capacity of student leadership.

Each day of Seeds Training was dedicated to exploring productive ideas to help strengthen leadership skills, as well as break social barriers. One primary focus, particularly of day one, was around a concept called “fimage.” Fimage stands for “fear of image”, that fear of being judged and the fear of standing out. It is the internal bondage that keeps us from stepping out of our comfort zone, even when we know it could benefit us. Day one was all about identifying and breaking fimage.

Group photo!

The overall focus of the following days was on productive team collaboration, breaking fears, and building trust. There were also sections committed to learning skills to take through college and the workforce. These skills included how to take efficient notes one can rely on, as well as how to effectively balance work, school, and what exists beyond that such as friends, family, and the things that make us happy.

Towards the end of the event, students dug deep within themselves and looked at their fears face to face. They were encouraged to ask those fears, “Why do you scare me?” and “Where did you come from?”

One of many epic board breaks

The last activity at Seeds Training was a symbolic and empowering exercise. Students were each given a thick wooden board and asked to write their biggest internal obstacle in the middle. Then they were taught how to break that board right in half. At first, there was an uneasiness in the room. Many of the students felt nervous and some were unsure if they could even break their board. But, in the end, every single student was holding two pieces of a board with their now split apart fear written in the middle.

Two friends hug after breaking boards

At Seeds Training, each student was respected and valued as a person, no matter their differences. For many students, it was unexpectedly an emotional experience. They witnessed what they were capable of accomplishing and with that, came a new and empowering sense of confidence – one that helps us embrace a new learning culture of innovation. A culture that requires creativity and courage.

Bevin Schrag Administrator

Bevin Schrag is a writer for Innovate Oregon. While working in social media and marketing at OnlineNW, she is currently studying the arts at Chemeketa Community College, to later become a media designer.