January 20, 2018

Posts by Dave Kelly, America's Student Leadership Trainer™

About Dave "Gonzo" Kelly

Dave Kelly is the leading authority on student leadership and community service on college campuses today. As a professional trainer, motivator, and servant leader, Dave is an expert on all aspects of running and leading campus organizations and developing the character of a servant leader. Dave has 20+ years training leaders and advisors from student government associations, campus activities boards and campus clubs of every kind on organizational leadership and community service projects. He has trained students and advisors at more than 150 different colleges and universities and is the national coordinator for the APCA Serves! Initiative by the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities.

The 4 Key Attributes of Servant Leaders

In my Building Leaders Through Service (BLTS) program I talk to student leaders about not just being a leader to benefit just themselves but to benefit and serve others. As a leader that includes working with others and recognizing their abilities. All of my programs emphasize the development of “servant leadership” qualities in students but BLTS in particular outlines the four key areas that define the attributes of servant leaders. These areas are: Dignity of the Individual; Sacrifice and … [Read more...]

You will do great things!

On March 2, I celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday by reading to my kindergarten students at William Scott Elementary School in Atlanta.  It was so fun! One of the books I read was “Oh, the Places You Will Go”. When was the last time you read that book? It really is prescient about life and how things will go—as long as we persevere. The book tells us how everything is going to go our way. How awesome we will become. And we are going to accomplish great things and go far… “Except when you don’t, … [Read more...]

Meeting Icebreaker: The Alphabet Game

This meeting icebreaker is out of what I call my bag of tricks. I use it instead of a break if the group has gotten off track or seems to be losing energy and needs a change of pace. It becomes a 5-6 minute break without having folks leave the room and then having to gather everyone back together. Try it! Divide the room up into groups of 4 or 5 (which means you'll need at least 8 people to make it work). Everyone should have a pen and paper for quick note-taking and brainstorming, but one … [Read more...]

Setting the Table for Community Service at Orientation

Getting students involved in community service and instilling the energy of servant leadership on your campus during orientation is a great idea. Especially if your clubs and organizations have a requirement for community service, there's no better time than orientation to get everybody thinking about serving right from the start. However, coordinating a single project that gets hundreds and even thousands of students involved at one time is a challenge. You want to ensure everyone participates … [Read more...]

Creating a “Day of Service” on Your Campus

A Day of Service is an opportunity for students across the campus to come together in service. My favorite time to do that is on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day but it can be done on any holiday or any time during the year as community organizations are in need of help all year long. The people on campus who already serving are going to be the ones to help you plan this, but many people don’t serve because they don’t know how or don’t know how to get started. They often have an impression that … [Read more...]

5 Ways to keep your student leaders on the learning curve

Students are on a steep learning curve as leaders. Their situations evolve rapidly throughout the year as they face new challenges and learn more about themselves, their leadership styles, and new leadership techniques. These all combine to help them improve themselves as students and leaders now and into the future. So what do you do after the Fall or Spring Retreat to keep the learning curve going up? Here are five ideas you can use right away: 1) Have a monthly leadership series with … [Read more...]

How to Serve Your Community All Year Long

SERVANT LEADERSHIP is a topic I train student leaders in that is popular all year round. Most years I am called on to do a service training at least once every month of the year. I help campus clubs and organizations identify and organize community service projects and show them how to get their members and campus involved in a meaningful way. And as a dedicated servant leader with a lifelong commitment to serving others, it’s good news to me that there seems to be no WRONG TIME of the year to … [Read more...]

A Day of Service at Georgian Court University

I had the honor of working with over 100 women at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, NJ on January 17, 2011, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It was the third annual leadership conference for the students and the focus was on community service. It was a fun and exciting event and the enthusiasm of the women warmed up a cold January day! My part of the program was to present “Building Leaders Through Service®” as an interactive, two-hour leadership seminar in the morning. My approach was … [Read more...]

Drive-by community service projects… and nobody gets hurt!

Drive-by service opportunities are not quite what they sound like and provide immediate benefit to your campus' local community. They are projects that are ready-made for students, faculty and staff to jump right into, take only a few minutes, and provide solid impact. They are accomplished by partnering with local or national community service groups such as Habitat for Humanity, the United Way, Special Olympics, Food for the Poor, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, to name a few. Though I've … [Read more...]

Small Steps Lead to Great Strides!

Ever since our daughter entered middle school two years ago, my wife and I have been going to the Student Life worship service at our church in order to hear and experience the same message as her. We have some wonderful pastors and a lot of great students involved with the ministry. Each week, a group of high school students lead the music portion of the service with our Student Life music minister. I have seen some of the students start out very timid as performers and then blossom into … [Read more...]

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