MONTCLAIR, NJ - The Kappa League Leadership program came to Montclair State University with nearly two-hundred male students for their inaugural event on Saturday.
Stemming from the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, the Kappa League is a mentorship program which aims to develop leadership skills in young male students in middle and high school throughout the country.
A program which Kevin Boston- Hill, Northeastern Providence Guide Right Chairman, described as similar to a Big Brother Big Sister program, but “at a whole ‘nother level”. With a clear agenda the conference entitled “Molding Future Leaders Today!” focused on specific hot topics including Mental Health Awareness, College/ Career Search, and Police and Community Relations.
At the advisement of leaders such as Dr. Frank Igwe-President of Moravia Health, Beau Younker- Northeastern Province Kappa League Coordinator, and L’Mani Viney- National Guide Right Chairman, young men who were dressed up in button down shirts and ties listened eagerly on how to become the next Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Richard Branson.
Founded in 1969 the Kappa League focuses on what they refer to as “Five Phases”-Self Identity, Training, Competition, Social, and Health Education. With these phases in mind I was able to sit down and speak with Kevin Boston- Hill to see how he believed the Northeastern Province’s inaugural leadership conference went and what kind of tools the students were given.
One of the topics covered was networking. With the premise that not everyone had the opportunity to learn about networking and networking skills at such a young age, the objective was to "...introduce what the concept actually is because, of course, this generation thinks of networking and thinks of computers. But we want to let them know that networking is more than just handing out a business card or exchanging business cards, it is about what it all entails," explained Boston-Hill.
"The earlier we can get them to understand that the better it will be for them. It’s all about the opportunities and knowing what they look like when they show up, so the more ammunition we can prepare them with ahead of time they will know how to react when that situation comes up so they won’t miss those opportunities," he continued.
Another topic covered was police-community relations.
Boston-Hill said, "We wanted to let the students, the young men, know that regardless of what it is that they may feel or they may see within the media, they still have to respect the authority and while at the same time there is a way to garner that respect in return. So it is all in a matter of how they approach the situation, it is a matter of how they react to certain things, and that there is a way to react to situation and now have it escalate. Provided we don’t want any situations to escalate rather we really want there to be more conversations so that they can diffuse things more quickly."
Networking skill and police-community relations topics are not topics generally covered by the individual chapters, Boston-Hill explained. "This was our focus as it is our inaugural conference." He stated that those topics were chosen with the anticipation that the chapters will also continue the conversation. He stated that each chapter was at "different stages, but each chapter will incorporate it into their educational process."
Boston-Hill mentioned that he hopes the participants will remember to "Never pass up an opportunity because you never know where it is going to lead."
He also wants for the young men to take back what they learned during the conference to their communities. Boston-Hill said, "Taking the information back for those students who couldn’t be here and hopefully we can do an each one teach one type of thing so whatever they learn they can pass it on and now they become the leaders of a conference and in their communities."
He plans on expanding the program next year with the hopes of attracting twice as many young men to the conference.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about the Kappa League Leadership program visit them at http://www.natlkappaleague.org/ or reaching the Montclair chapter at Mackappaleague@gmail.com.