ORLANDO, Florida – Wilmington College sent two student-athletes and an athletic administrator to the NCAA's Leadership Conference held in Florida earlier this month. Sophomores Tavion Bryant, a member of the football team, and Jillian Wesco, a member of the volleyball team, were accompanied by Athletic Business Manager Stacey Conley to the three-day event.
What was one of the more memorable things you partook in?
Tavion – The community service project was nice. As a group, we bagged up hygiene materials for people in the community who recently got out of a tough or abusive relationship or anyone in distress. Because it was a competition between groups, putting all of those bags together didn't feel like work at all. I think we got over 1,000 bags done in 15 minutes.
Jillian – I didn't really know what to expect, but everyone was so humble and wanted to improve both as an individual and for their teammates back home.
Did you get close with any other student-athletes while there?
Tavion – We were all strangers when we first arrived. It was uncomfortable. By the time we had to leave, we were all on the verge of tears. I really bonded with Hannah, a student-athlete from Canada, and Laura, a women's basketball student-athlete at Roanoke College.
Jillian – My small group still keeps in touch via social media. We are still talking every day. I bonded with student-athletes from John Carroll University, Denison University and a skier from Alaska. I didn't even know that was an NCAA-sponsored sport.
What were a couple of the big takeaways you got from attending the conference?
Tavion – I really found out who I am as a leader. The conference especially opened my eyes to how others perceive my leadership. We had to write down a number of values we hold and eventually get down to just three that we hold most dear.
Jillian – We filled out a packet before attending the conference. At the conference, we got our results on what kind of a leader we were. A found out I'm a restorative leader through discussing those results, which I had never even thought of before.
Give an example of something you learned about yourself or your leadership style that you will implement with your teammates.
Tavion – I have to be everything I expect my teammates to be. If I want our team to have energy at practice everything, I have to make sure I bring it every day. I also learned about the importance of having crucial conversations. I don't think all the freshman get to connect due to not playing right away. Learning how to have those conversations was a huge for me.
Jillian – We talked a lot about discussing conflict with our teammates. We are so quick to judge others or say something in the spur of the moment. We learned many techniques to have those conversations that allow the team to stay unified. In the past, I was too scared to have those conversations out of fear of someone not liking me or interpreting something I said incorrectly. I understand now how to be a leader and have those conversations.