4 Summer Leadership Opportunities You Wish You Did

4 Summer Leadership Opportunities You Wish You Did

Do you consider yourself a leader? If so, chances are youʼve taken part in at least one
summer leadership program.

Itʼs pretty much a rite of passage, because there is so much to gain: connect with
leaders, hone your chops, have fun, explore the world (and your potential)!


Summer programs. More fun than a bar mitzvah and less pain than a hazing.

But where do you start? Do you go for the most prestigious programs? If so, how do you
even measure that? Do you make a beeline to the most exotic and far away? Or do you
seek out those programs which are geared towards developing a new skill?

Over the next two weeks, weʼll be collecting your feedback, and sharing some of the
most exciting responses through Project GYST. Although weʼre sure to hear about some
really cool, obscure, borderline scary-futuristic experiences (because what goes on in
Silicon Valley doesnʼt have to stay in Silicon Valley), hereʼs a few we know weʼll be
hearing about.

1) Shad Valley:
Shad is a 1 month program for high school student leaders. High achieving students are
sent to one of Canadaʼs leading universities to learn about all things engineering,
innovation and entrepreneurship in a group of 50+ of other high achievers like
themselves. Their unofficial motto: work hard, play hard. Morning lectures are matched
with weekend camping trips and late night group meetings are met with late night
broomball matches. Oh, did I mention they also get into groups and create a business
plan for a novel product that they create? And this all in three and a half weeks.


Run around on frozen water and hit a ball with an windshield-scraper? Must be a
Canadian thing (for those not in the know, this is broomball).

Although it starts in high school, thatʼs far from where it ends. Universities could take a
lesson or two from Shad Valley, whose 30+ year old alumni base is almost as
supportive (and extensive) as the Shad Valley program itself.

2) JʼExplore:
Parlez-vous français? Well, now is the perfect time to learn or improve! Especially for
those who just had to type that into Google Translate. Explore spends 5 weeks teaching
its participants the language of love while immersing them in it (the language,
apparently thereʼs policies against the latter).

Imagine learning French in the heart of Quebec City! How cool is that? The best part,
itʼs social! Learning a new language can be tough. Doing it with a whole bunch of other
people all of whom are eager to learn and have as little experience as you do? Well
thatʼs easier.


And letʼs not forget about those French street performers. Because nothing quite says French like throwing a baton between your legs riding on a unicycle.

3) Volunteering Abroad:
This is probably one of the most popular options as of late, if for no other reason than
because it is so easy! Organizations for this are springing up like wildfire, giving you the
chance to travel to developing countries and… teach English… build schools … save the
world. On top of that, these trips are low cost (the most expensive part obviously being
the plane ticket), and give you a chance to expand your horizons. Whether itʼs
befriending people from all over the world, experiencing the local culture, food and
landmarks or taking advantage of the comparatively cheap night life, youʼre sure to
make a life changing experience out of it.


For those too lazy to Google, SOS, Me2We and AIESEC are a few of the more popular options.

4) DIY! Thatʼs right, Do It Yourself!
When all else just doesnʼt quite work for you, get off the couch and do it yourself! There
are so many opportunities to meet people and hone your skills. If youʼre looking for the
perfect experience, just tailor a few of them together to make your own personal
summer program! Why donʼt more people do this? Probably because it seems tough. It
sounds challenging to find workshops worth going to and making sure you stay on point
for the entire summer.


Thereʼs supposed to be a beer garden downtown tonight. Does that count?

The good news is, it isnʼt really that hard! A lot of groups, Raeallan included, are holding
events in the coming months! And isnʼt the art of leadership all about continually
challenging and improving yourself?

Create and promote your own personal brand? Raeallanʼs got you covered – follow us
for the latest deets on our upcoming events!

Want to master the art of public speaking? Check out The Academy of Persuasion!

Looking to share your business ideas with engaged leaders? Check out Cool

Still want more? Keep an eye on Eventbrite for the latest conferences and classes!
And just remember, whatever you do for the rest of this summer, make sure to Get Your
Sh!t Together!

Tell us here what youʼre doing to GYST for a chance at cool prizes and some
serious exposure!


Being Busy — You’re Probably Doing it Wrong

Here is another guest post from Raeallan team member Morgan Rosenberg

Growing up, you probably learned that if you wanted to say or do something in class, you raise your hand. For all of you keeners, you probably did that quite a lot. It’s fun and it’s a way to pass the time and boost your marks. It’s not like you were going to be doing anything else (shy of maybe texting the person sitting right beside you, but I’m sure we were all excellent multi-taskers).Busygraphic

Then you get into the real world, where things exist outside of the classroom. Keener or not, how many of you started raising your hand then? My guess is most of you.

Why? Because it’s cool to be busy. It makes us feel good about ourselves.

Here’s the problem, things are moving at an increasingly fast clip, and time is more valuable than ever before. Think about it, you can get far more done in an hour now, with the aid of tech, than you could 50 years ago. On top of that, people have less time. Now, more so than years prior, there are just so many ways to be busy.

And despite all this, we’re giving our time away!

How does this make sense?

We all want to do as much as we can, and we want to feel like we’re busy people, important people. For many of us, that means finding ways to be busy. If we don’t have anything to do, we find something. If we can’t find something, we manufacture something. It’s crazy! We have this compulsion to get as much into our day as possible, regardless of what it is. In this mad flurry to get as much done as possible, sometimes our mental and/or physical health takes a back seat.

The obvious answer to our question then, how does this make sense, is that it just doesn’t. We should not be giving our time away in an endless pursuit of busyness.

But what about those “sleepless elite” who just keep going?

            I’m still not sure if Mayor Nenshi has gotten his #napfornenshi!

The difference is, these people are NOT busy for the sake of being busy. These super-awesome people do it, whatever it is, because they truly and passionately want to. Of course the best way to get to this point, being busy with things you actually want to do, is to go out and find those things!

However, I’ll bet most of you have things in your life that you do because you “ought to”. The trick here is to learn to love them: Make them fun! Do them with friends! Turn it into a challenge!

If all this fails, and the task really does suck that much, try pruning the amount of time you give yourself to finish it. According to Tim Ferriss and C. Northcote Parkinson, if you impose hard deadlines on yourself to finish your menial work, you’ll still be able to get it all done (in less time)!

Cool. Now I know what I’m supposed to do. But how do I make sure I do it?

In her book “168 Hours”, Laura Vanderkam explains that we shouldn’t be planning our life by the hour, or even by the day, but by the week! This idea also helps implement two surefire solutions to make sure you follow through:

1) Cut the fat (those unproductive little things you do every day that add up).

Charting things out by the week is a great way to cut the fat! Try cutting just half an hour of time wasting a day, whether it be that midday Candy Crush break or those 6 extra snooze button hits. Now, try to cut some of the time you spend on things you don’t like. Unlike shortening the timeframe you have for ‘yucky work’, this just cuts down the amount of yucky work you need to do. For example, if cooking’s not your thing, try doing it larger quantities. That’ll give you pre-cooked dinner for the next three days (and more time to do things you want to do!).

2) GYST – Get Your Sh!t (and your priorities) Together.

In your new super-awesome weekly planning mode, it’s also way easier to Get Your Sh!t Together! On a weekly basis, it’s way easier to see where you’re dedicating a lot of your time, and where you want to be dedicating more (did I really just spend more time last week ravaging through Suits than I did studying for the LSATs?!). It also helps you figure out what you need to do in the coming week to meet your goals (e.g. study 50 hours) and etch out time for activities that may otherwise be forgotten (e.g. workout 5 hours per week).

Cool. I love the new-age go be your awesome self talk, but does it work?

Well. Let’s test it out. Say you save about 20 minutes a day from shrinking your timeframe and about half an hour a day from cutting the fat. Right there, that’s more than 5 hours a week that you’ve saved. If you GYST, then that means you’re using that time to do what you want to do. That’s 5 hours every week, for the rest of your life, towards getting done exactly what you want! Think about it.

So how do you stay hip and keep busy while actually getting what you want out of life?

Easy. Just do what you want to do (GYST), don’t sweat the yucky things and cut the fat!

“6 Tips to Generate Interest in Pinterest!”

Here is new guest blogpost by Raeallan team member Jenny Xu on Pinterest!

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Top 6 Tactics to Generate Interest in Pinterest

Pinterest is a popular content-sharing social media platform with more than 48 million users; Forbes lists it as the third largest social media site. The company is worth over $2.5 billion dollars and is one of the fastest growing social networking sites. However, many people overlook its usefulness as a marketing tool. More online consumers have found an item on Pinterest they wanted to purchase than any other social networking site.

Here are 6 tips to help you enhance your brand using Pinterest.

1. Share and Use Links

Connect your Pinterest to your company website. You can add a “Pin it” widget to your page so users can click the button and share your products on Pinterest.

Share your pin boards on your Facebook profile or Facebook page. This strategy will allow your social media profiles to drive traffic to each other. Martha Stewart uses this strategy. Check out her Facebook page and her Pinterest page.

Another useful way to use links is by creating pins with a catchy title such as “How to Land a Job in 2 Easy Steps” and then placing a click-through button in the description to your website. This easily drives traffic to your website.

2. Use Keywords

Use hashtags that contain keywords to your pins to improve searchability. Just having nice posts won’t be enough if people can’t find them. Make boards that are keyword-rich by using descriptive titles. Anthropologie is a good example of a pinner that utilizes hashtags and keywords in their pin descriptions. Conduct a little bit of research on what people are pinning and searching to increase your popularity.

3. Be Social!

It’s a social media site, use it accordingly! Follow other users, repin, like, comment on pins, and invite people to pin to your boards. By doing this, you bring more exposure to yourself. It’s about reciprocation, by repinning from other users, they are more likely to repin from you; so give to others what you want to receive from them. It is important to be genuine, never try to promote yourself in threads. Similar to other social media sites, you can tag users in your pin descriptions so they will be notified that you mentioned them in a post. An important aspect of marketing your business on social media is to make yourself relatable; be human, people will feel more inclined to repin content they can relate to.

4. Pin Strategically, but Pin Often

You may be tempted to post all your products, don’t do it! Choose the ones you feel will engage the most people and pin those, you want people to feel like they are gaining something from your pins or else they won’t want to follow you. Pin things such as tips, tutorials, interesting tidbits, or products from other companies. Have a little variation in your pins, since users are less likely to follow you if you are clearly marketing only your own products. People want to follow accounts that will provide value to them.

Use boards– so now you’re wondering, what is a board?  A board organizes pins into categories. Imagine your room with six bulletin boards; board one has pictures of Justin Bieber (if you Beliebe) , board two has your receipts, board three has your photos, and so on and so forth. Pinterest boards are similar because you create unique boards for related content.  So, create individual boards, join boards created by other pinners and actively contribute to them.

5. Catch the User’s Attention.

Your graphics should be eye-catching because the aesthetics catches the viewers attention. However, it’s the value of the content which will encourage a person to share your pin. Infographics are a popular form of graphics on Pinterest and are incredibly useful because you can pack a lot of information onto an infographic, making it a great tool to market a product or service. You can also pin videos!

6. Measure your Performance

Pinterest offers a free analytics service to business pages. It tracks activity such as:

  • How many people are pinning from your website

  • Whether your pins are being repinned and how often

  • How much traffic your website receives from Pinterest

  • What your impressions are like

The number of pins from your website is the most critical. From this metric you can tell people are engaged on both your website and Pinterest profile.

Another tool is Reachli, which is free to users, it tracks the effectiveness of your pins. The tool makes visual content marketing easy and is a great tool to have especially for small businesses looking to build their outreach.

Using analytics is important because it helps to determine engagement and the value Pinterest is providing to your busin

Obviously using Pinterest as a marketing tool works better for some businesses than others. Companies in the Food and Fashion industry with products that have visual attraction are more popular on Pinterest. However, companies with less visually attractive content face a tougher challenge to engage viewers. Using infographics is a great strategy to condense large text pieces into visually appealing graphics. The challenges to gain success on Pinterest should not discourage you from giving it a shot. Test it out, try different strategies, use these tips as guidelines and see if it works out for you.