by Ben Abt
2018–2019 National TSA Reporter
As the 2018–2019 TSA season gets underway, it is time to start working on the great year ahead. As you begin to choose your competitive events and pick your teams, you should also start to consider TSA’s leadership program—Leadership. Education. Achievement. Personal Growth. (LEAP). That includes the LEAP Response, for middle school competitors, or the LEAP Report, for high school competitors. (The LEAP Report now replaces the LEAP Resume.)
For many, your LEAP Response or LEAP Report may have been something that you filled out after you completed your competitive event, but in fact, you should start planning your response or report before you even start the competition. The LEAP Response or LEAP Report is a critical part of every TSA competition and can help prepare you for your future, while helping you gain an advantage over your peers.
I remember my TSA chapter’s first meeting of the year when I was in 10th grade. My chapter advisor handed everyone a sheet of paper and asked them to write down what they had done during the summer. Initially, I believed this task was just an ice breaker to start the year, but I soon realized my advisor’s motives.
From that list of activities, we were told to identify times when we worked with others, served as a role model to someone, or demonstrated leadership in any other capacity. We then saved our lists. As we started our competitive events and worked on them with our teammates, we were encouraged to document on our lists, experiences that required our leadership. By the time we were getting ready for the conference, everyone on the team had a list of their leadership experiences over the past few months, allowing us to compile our LEAP Reports (at the time called LEAP Resumes) efficiently and effectively.
I recommend that before you work on your competitive events this year, you quickly take a moment to write down your experiences from the summer. Additionally, as you participate in a leadership activity such as a summer job or being the captain of your sports team, I recommend that you document the experience. You should refer to the “The Student Leadership Challenge” free sample resources which appear on TSA’s refreshed website. After doing this, you will soon see how easy it is to put together an effective LEAP Response or LEAP Report.
If treated properly, the LEAP Response or LEAP Report should help you articulate the skills that you have developed and demonstrated over the course of your specific competitive event. It is also an easy way to improve your chances at getting that first place trophy.