Stephanie Yeo /Los Alamitos High School 11th grade
Love of Family, Love of Nation, Love of Neighbors, Love of Justice, and Love of Peace. These five beliefs have a special place in the hearts of all the members in Hwarang Youth Foundation, and each and every one of us take these beliefs with us wherever we stand. Why? Because we are the face of Hwarang, and Hwarang is the key to a bigger, better, and safer community.
Hwarang Youth Foundation is a non-profit organization filled with rising leaders who are ready to face any difficulties if it meant helping other people; however, not only do we help other individuals, but we also aid new members to become strong and dignified leaders. Every year, Hwarang has grown, and as its growth skyrockets, students who are more motivated to make a change become Summit members, consisting of Presidents, Vice Presidents, Secretaries, Treasurers, and Historians. Although the Summit cabinet makes a large impact in the organization, the board members of each chapter are also very crucial; the board members of each chapter are in charge of maintaining, organizing, and improving their chapter. With the advanced communication structure between all the members within this foundation, especially the Summit cabinet and branch board members, everyone works diligently as they plan events, guide new members, and help the organization thrive.
As of July 2017, a new era of Hwarang has begun to take action and will be ending in June of 2018 with new improvements. In order to learn from the past hardships and help make Hwarang a better community, the Summit cabinet and chapter presidents engaged with one another and the past Summit cabinet in order to discuss ways of forming a method which members can value one another and build a better and deeper bonding with each other. With thorough discussions and restless meetings, the Summit cabinet and chapter presidents prepared an overnight leadership training where seventeen Hwarang Youth Foundation could come together and not only bond and have fun, but to also discuss ways to further improve the organization.
On July 14, 2017 to July 15, 2017, the annual Hwarang Leo leadership training took place at Holiday Inn in the city of Buena Park. As all seventeen Hwarang Leo chapters came together, the Summit discussed the past, present, and future of Hwarang. First, the Summit officers explained the history of Hwarang and how the past, a period of nobility, should be cherished as we stand honored to be able to wear its name. Second, the present of Hwarang Leo was discussed by our past Summit President, Joon Sung Park. With his eloquent and vivid speech, he awakened many of the rising leaders in the large crowd of the conference room, and he filled hope, encouragement, and memories into the lives of everyone in the room. He reminded everyone what the duties of a leader are, especially those of a Hwarang leader. The past Summit President also emphasized the importance of fulfilling everyone’s given duties, yet at the same time, he also emotionally moved everyone with his kind and earnest last advice as a mentor by reminding everyone that they need empathy, respect, presentability, and enjoyment in order to succeed in becoming a genuine leader.
Lastly, the Summit discussed the future of Hwarang. As everyone came to an agreement that Hwarang could become better, as a whole, everyone explained different ways to improve the organization. For example, ways of improving the communication structure between all the Hwarang members was discussed, and everyone came to a conclusion that all chapters would begin to use Google Classroom as a new efficient and organized way of staying connected. In addition, a key part of the leadership training was the discussion of committees. In 2016, Hwarang Leo created committees in order for the Leo members to experience their dream career path. For instance, a business committee was created, and they hosted Hwarang’s very first Gala. The business committee members all underwent multiple challenges and were able to have first hand experience with the duties business individuals have to undergo everyday. Helping all the members of Hwarang involve in their favored career paths, is a new goal to fulfill and will eventually make a enormous impact upon the future of this organization.
Although many topics of business was discussed during the training, many individuals were able to build close relationships with one another. During the training, all the members separated into organized, random groups in order to “break the ice”. Later, Hwarang as a whole played multiple games where they had to meet new people and introduce themselves. In Hwarang, communication and relationship is the key, and without this essentiality, the organization would not have been able to grow as much. Therefore, the Summit was able to intertwine activities into the overnight training in order to further emphasize that not is work necessary, but everyone can also share laughter at the same time.
To me, this leadership training was not only an important Hwarang informational and bonding event, but it was also a way for me to physically and mentally interact with all the chapters. During the meetings, it was great to watch all the new chapter board members to write down notes and information that would help throughout their leadership. It was heartwarming to see all the chapter board members help each other when there was difficulties during this event. It was an extraordinary experience to see new friendships forming and new leaders growing. During activities, it was fascinating to watch the cooperation and the communication between all the members. Through all of this, I was there. I was there watching the students form into bigger and better people. As a junior in high school, I am still on the path to becoming a better person and a better leader, this experience has definitely helped me realize the effect Hwarang Youth Foundation has on every one of these individuals. It helped me realize that Hwarang Youth Foundation is not only a large volunteer organization but also a large family.
During this overnight training, many members enjoyed every part of the training, and they were all able to see a difference in the level of their confidence at the end. With activities similar to the leadership training, an important goal is to continue to make an effort to shift everyone’s confidence into that of a leader. In the months to come, the current leaders will make their very best effort to train their peers in order for them to have the ability to also teach other individuals; at the end, this grand domino effect will ultimately become the key to opening up the treasure of family.
<Stephanie Yeo /Los Alamitos High School 11th grade