A few years ago, I found myself faced with the daunting task of establishing a youth club in Fairfax County. It was a challenging undertaking, but also one that gave me a lot of satisfaction in the end. I got the proposal to establish the youth club from my mentor, a grand old man I respect a great deal. He told me that by successfully establishing a youth club, I would be demonstrating ‘leadership skills’, which would help me a great deal in my future career aspirations. So I obliged, with an assurance from him that he would give me all the necessary support resources.
The first step I had to take was that of coming up with a plan for the youth club: in terms of the activities it would be engaged in, the structures it would operate on… and so on. This was not hard for me to do, as I had lots of interesting ideas.
The second step I took was that of notifying the authorities that I was keen on establishing a youth club in Fairfax County. This too was not hard for me to do, especially with the help of my mentor — who (I think) helped pull the necessary strings.
The third step I took was that of getting people to join the club. This was where I encountered real difficulties. It became clear to me that I had to demonstrate to people what they stood to gain from the club, for them to join. Most of the youth I was targeting were people with very little time on their hands. And having, for instance, gotten a modest Walmartone paystub online, the idea of using some of the money to pay meaningless club fees was unattractive to most. But my mentor told me that my leadership abilities would be gauged on the basis of the extent to which I was able to persuade the youth to devote their time and resources to the club. And I am happy to report that after a few hitches in the beginning, we were ultimately able to establish a vibrant youth club in Fairfax County.