Matt Mackowiak is the Marketing Assistant at Music for All. Matt has been involved in the performing arts since a young age as a percussionist, and throughout his life has performed on the field as a snare drummer, at the podium as a drum major and in the gym as a winter guard member. He graduated from Ball State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Public Relations. Before Music for All, Matt worked as a staff member for several marching band and color guard programs across Indiana.
Day two for Music for All Summer Symposium Leadership Weekend campers was a day full of pushing limits and challenging the ideas of what a leader should be. While first year leadership members stayed on campus honing in on key elements of being a band leader, second year leadership campers had the treat of attending the Camp Rainbow ropes course.
Other MFA Staff members and I made the trip off-campus and traveled to Camp Rainbow. After taking some back country roads, we pulled into the parking lot. Grassy fields and shady, yet muddy, wooded areas covered the camp while obstacle courses were spread all over the property. From rope courses to the “wall,” the camp was filled with challenges both mental and physical. While working together in small groups, these kids worked on 5 are: Cooperation, Humility, Integrity, Focus and Courage.
One thing that fascinated me was that these kids come from all over the country, from urban schools to rural schools, both large and small band programs. None of these outside factors mattered. These kids were here to focus on one thing, to bond with one another and take this knowledge with them back home to become not only be a leader and role model for new band students, but to become a “go to” person for the band director.
At the beginning of the day there were a handful of kids who took a leap of faith by stepping forward and volunteering to go first at the different obstacles. The timid, yet eager, students stood by, soaking in the information. The energetic and peppy campers encouraged others a little bit at a time. After walking around the camp, each group had more and more students willing to give it a go. This was all made possible because of the comradery and community these kids created. They were not afraid to fail because of the support of these new friends they had made.
These kids are going to do amazing things on the football field performing or in the classroom, and also as they are blossoming into the leaders of tomorrow. This camp has a contagious nature to it.
“Great leaders are not defined by the absence of weakness, but rather by the presence of clear strengths.” —John Zenger