Growing and taking care of plants is a special gift. I know that because my wife can take a piece from one of her flowers, put it in water, and grow another plant. Each week she gets her tools and water, then starts walking around the house talking to her potted friends. I just shake my head and keep walking, but I benefit immensely from her gift because there is more oxygen in our home because of the plants.
Transferring this gift outside is more challenging because she must adjust to different variables to get the same results with her indoor plants. Building a greenhouse is one option she has not explored to assist her planting gift. With a greenhouse, she could garden year-round. Moreover, she can grow plants that need a longer growing season to create a healthier environment.
Leaders and entrepreneurs are like plants in that they need the right environment to foster growth that will benefit communities. Unfortunately, many variables can impede the development of leaders and entrepreneurs. Fear, lack of access to resources, lack of self-discipline, jealousy, being uncomfortable, isolation, or a scarcity mindset are all variables that can hinder growth. This is why we at the Resurgence Leadership Foundation created the Social Enterprise Academy to serve as an incubator (greenhouse) for organizations that focus on youth mentoring.
One of those evolving leaders is Coach Dominique Williams, Coordinator for the Gwinnett County Chapter of Young Commanders. He has always had the heart to serve others through his roles with the marching band and his places of employment. So, at the end of 2020, I approached him about becoming a mentor, and he started serving in January 2021. He was faithful in showing up weekly with the protégés and coaches; he began learning how the program works and showed a growing interest in taking on more responsibilities. With the confidence of the veteran coaches behind him, he was elevated to the coordinator role.
In this new role, he spearheaded the planning and coordination of the chapter. This role involved recruiting mentors/protégés, managing the platoons (coaches and mentors), coordinating events, facilitating coaches’ meetings, communicating with parents, coordinating facilities, and being a representative at the RLF team meetings. I would meet with him every other week to process all the responsibilities and provide insight on how to cultivate the habits of the leader he aspired to be. There were times that it was challenging, but his faith in Jesus, the support of the veteran coaches, and the wisdom and prayers of the RLF team provided an ideal “greenhouse effect” for Dominique (Coach Dom) to thrive.
This year he has expressed a desire for more responsibility and is prepared to become the director of Young Commanders by fall 2023. The decision to elevate him was confirmed recently by an incident with one of the protégés. Several weeks ago, a high school was locked down because a student had brought a firearm to school. One of the graduates of Young Commanders attended the school and realized after 15 minutes that it wasn’t a standard drill. Fearing the worst, he drafted a text message to send to his family to let them know what was taking place and that he loved them. Fortunately, he didn’t have to send it because the problem was resolved. What I learned later was that Coach Dom was one of the people that made the list to receive a text. I began to tear up. Eighteen months earlier, I started walking with Coach Dom, and during that time, he had grown into a leader making a huge impact on the lives of others.
I will continue working with Young Life Fellows, the Coalition for Christian Outreach Fellows, and three Christian entrepreneurs this fall. Like plants, some leaders and entrepreneurs need a longer growing season, but I believe communities will be healthier because of our work with the Social Enterprise Academy.