HISTORY OF THE LEAD CONFERENCE
Mountain Brook Junior High students, led by the then Bruin Club Council, originally attended an international drug and alcohol conference in Atlanta, Georgia. After the initial conference the school's leadership decided MBJH could provide a conference that was especially made for our students. On that last day of the conference in 1988, students had the opportunity to hear a very energetic speaker. John Hewitt related well with the students and brought a message in a manner that would be well received by all. John was approached with the idea of providing a conference especially made for our students. The idea was intriguing and receptive to both John and the students at MBJH.
With the wheels in motion, the next step was to secure the proper environment. MBJH leaders felt there was no better place to create enthusiasm with teenagers than the beach! Upon a visit to Gulf State Park, there was no question that we were close to seeing a dream come true. Initially designed as a conference to help students make wise decisions about drugs and alcohol, the experience morphed into a conference more about leadership. In the Spring of 2013, MBJH changed the name of the conference to LEAD to reflect the true focus of the conference. The Spartan Council is responsible for the conference, and one of the goals is to help build students’ capacities to lead. Interested students who participate in LEAD are placed on teams designed to help students get to know others they may not normally interact with. The teams work on many different projects in the lead up to the conference form a bond that often lasts well after the trip is complete.
Once the pre-conference activities are finished, students load the buses for an intense weekend conference covering such topics as positive decision making, listening skills, leadership, and teamwork. John Hewitt is still the featured speaker and The Spartan Council leads their respective teams in all of the small group discussions. While the location and the focus of the conference have changed over the years, LEAD continues to be a great experience for MBJH.