MAC Attends National Kappa League Conference!

Respectfully submitted by:  Brother Beau Younker, MAC SPR 2005

As I stood patiently waiting outside the United Airline departure entrance, cars and vans zipped through the area dropping fellow travelers through the busy morning rush.  The clamor of voices, screeches and rolling sounds of luggage filled the air.  Despite all the tumultuousness, there was an immense calm and two relatively shy young men would be making a journey to Concord, North Carolina for Kappa Alpha Psi, Fraternity Incorporated historical 1st National Kappa League Conference.  Through the generous support of the Montclair Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, Fraternity, Inc., Azmir Sims and Samuel Hamlett and myself would venture to a small town outside of Charlotte, North Carolina and meet with other fellow Kappa League programs from across the country.  As I continue to progress in life, I have learned to truly appreciate all experiences that contribute to history.  This weekend, we were undoubtedly going to be part of history.  History that stems from the beginning of our fraternity’s adoption of the Guide Right Program in 1922 to the commencement of the Kappa League program in 1969/1970.  Fast forward to an event that was presented 5 years ago in the making to now coming to life behind the fraternity’s leadership of Kevin Burnett, Oscar Neely, Ben Jackson, L’mani Viney and Terry Ward just to name a few.  The vision to gather aspiring, talented, unique and special young men to express their thoughts and feelings, be more self-aware and develop leadership to be successful as well as fellowship (TAKE A DEEP BREATH) and just making new friendships and connections finally came to fruition.

The first day of the conference included the traditional protocol.  The young men registered to stamp and document their presence and received packets with valuable items for the weekend events.  An intense agenda had been created for the young men to absolutely utilize every second of their day. The Great Wolf Lodge Resort provided a most suiting environment.  It possessed several business/conference style meeting rooms, breakfast, lunch and dinner accommodations and the extraordinary indoor/water park and games.  The young men would have all access to these amenities and it most certainly enable them to enjoy a holistic experience.  The Great Wolf Lodge epitomized the symbol of the wolf: guardianship, ritual, loyalty and formidable spirit.  The very context chosen by the fraternity embodied these interlocking characteristics which resonated throughout the conference.

The LIVE2LEARN initiative was the first session for the 237 Kappa Leaguers in attendance.  Yes! 237 young men from as far as Los Angeles, California, Port Arthur, Texas, and even Orlando, Florida filled the room to capacity.  The session’s focus captured the education, knowledge and profound discussion surrounding police relations, the do’s and don’ts and the procedure to handle police encounters.  I was most impressed by these young men posing challenging questions to fellow law enforcement and enlightening them about their perspective and feelings when they are stopped by police.  The police representatives also delivered their perspective from their day to day and the several unknown factors that put their lives at risk as well.  It was a powerful workshop and the simulations really created an opportunity for the young men to be more understanding to both sides.  The evening finally came to an end with the young men breaking into groups and networking with each other.  Despite the several yawns and heads sinking into their propped arms, they exchanged and introduced themselves to other like-minded young men.  This was extraordinary to witness as our Kappa Leaguers swapped social media and contact information.

As the sun pierced through the curtain shade in the hotel room and swiftly awoken us, a 7:00 am start did not seem the most thrilling for our Kappa Leaguers.  However, they impressively rose to the occasion and made it down to a complete gourmet breakfast.  At this point, they would nourish their minds and bodies for a lengthy Day 2.  The young men would have the opportunity to take part in a total of 6 workshops:

  1. Entrepreneurship
  2. Building your Social Media
  3. Naviance
  4. Leadership Development
  5. College/University Readiness
  6. Mental Health Awareness

These workshops were led by experts in all these areas and every young man would leave the conference with a plethora of all around knowledge to navigate approaching college applications, maintaining a balance state of mind and utilizing the appropriate tools and strategies to positively brand themselves.   Beyond the workshops, the young men were energized by former Kappa Leaguer Jaylan Veasly, sophomore at Memphis University about “It’s not just what you know but how you think!”.  He shared his experiences and the profound lessons and jewels of knowledge he gained from being a Kappa Leaguer.  He motivated the young men to continue to revolutionize the way they think about everything they encounter may it be challenges they may face or the methods to overall success. After the luncheon and final two afternoon workshops, the young men had some free time to unwind and just have some fun.  The Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park not only filled the Kappa Leaguers’ eyes with wave pools and water slides but a chance to cool off, laugh and just be a teenager away from home.

As the evening quickly snuck up on our Kappa Leaguers, the Awards Banquet brought all the important messages and conference highlights together.  With a most delicious dinner smell floating in the air, John Marshall Jones (actor) and Judge Kevin Ross addressed our young men about their Kappa Guide Right directors believing in each of them and our vigorous support to the highest level possible to reach their goals.  Each chapter that attended received a historic plague for their participation and purchased T-shirt for the inaugural event.  The Montclair Kappa Leaguers were stalwart, polite and participatory in all that was offered.  We had an amazing time and were able to bond from the time we departed Newark Airport to returning from Charlotte.  We should be extremely proud of these young men for making the trip and representing the Montclair Kappa League.

We are excited for the next National Conference and hopeful that it will hosted even closer to home to make sure several young men from our program can attend.  In closing, I will leave you with the Kappa League pledge that all the young men stated collectively:

I pledge that as a member of this Kappa League, I will faithfully and truly perform, to the best of my ability, the duties and responsibilities to uphold the objectives of good leadership development.

 

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