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100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale’s Leadership Academy tackles Marshmallow Challenge

100-Black-Men100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale’s  Leadership Academy tackles Marshmallow Challenge

 Mentees from the 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale’s 2015-2016 Leadership Academy who participated in a Marshmallow Challenge recently as part of their weekly forum at Nova Southeastern University’s Huizenga Graduate School of Business.

Leadership Academy mentees work together during a recent Marshmallow Challenge and develop teamwork skills. Mentees shown (L to r): Elijah Manley, Robert Baker, Breyon Thomas, Rodencia Thomas and Akil Ali-Harris.                                     (Photos by Thomas Spann)

By Charles Moseley

The 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale Leadership Academy recently conducted an exercise popularly known as a Marshmallow Challenge in which mentees were broken down into groups in order to complete their assignment. What began as a game took on a whole new meaning once each group completed their respective task.

The Marshmallow Challenge

Tom Wujec works as a Fellow at Autodesk, the world’s leader in 2D and 3D technology serving the design, engineering and entertainment industries. He stated the following in reference to The Marshmallow Challenge. “If you need to kick start a meeting, get a team into a creative frame of mind, or simply want to encourage your organization to think about what it takes to dramatically increase innovation, invest 45 minutes to run a marshmallow challenge.

“I’m passionate about fostering design thinking, visual collaboration and team creativity.

I believe the marshmallow challenge is among the fastest and most powerful technique for improving a team’s capacity to generate fresh ideas, build rapport and incorporate prototyping – all of which lie at the heart of effective innovation,” added Wujec.

The task involves the following – in 18 minutes, teams must build the tallest free-standing structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marsh-mallow. The marshmallow needs to be on top.

At the completion of the competition one group stood atop the rest and were awarded the title of best Marshmallow Challenge Winners. The winning team included the following Leadership Academy mentees Cortney Plummer, Matthew Robinson, Withneverson Lacroix, Iran McMillon and Michael Robinson.

100 Black Men mentor Wayne Lovett serves as the Education Chair -Science/Engineering/Robotics Coach at Broward Estates Elementary. He shared his thoughts on how this exercise in teamwork would benefit the mentees in developing skills which would come in handy as they pursued their educational goals and careers later in life.

Education Chair

“The Marshmallow Challenge is a remarkably fun and instructive design exercise that encourages teams to experience simple but profound lessons in collaboration, innovation and creativity.

It’s goal is simple. In 18 minutes, teams of four must build the tallest freestanding structure.  Though the task seems simple, it’s actually pretty hard.  It forces people to collaborate quickly. Collaboration and co-operation are the main goals of the challenge.”

“While listening and communicating are essential the mentees quickly understand that the challenge is not a task for one but all to try and accomplish.  The ha-ha moment for teachers and mentors alike is to see the students working together, not fighting putting others down or being negative to others in the group.  This shows that we all to work toward a common goal even if we do or don’t succeed as a group we know that we worked hard and put forth effort in accomplishing something,” added Lovett.

Mentee Elijah Manley took the challenge. He is entering his third year in the Leadership Academy. He’s a junior at Fort Lauderdale High School. He also holds the distinction, believe it or not, of being the youngest person currently registered as a candidate running for office for President of the United States. He recently returned from the Socialist Convention held in Milwaukee, Wis.

“Being part of the Marsh-mallow Challenge assured me that teamwork is just as much of a building block than any-thing else.”

Akil Harris is a recent mentee in his first semester in The Leadership Academy.  He’s an eighth grader at Coral Springs Middle School. He also gained some valuable insight in why the activity was more than just a game. Harris provided his unique perspective on the activity.

“Every person who works on a project is like a gear in a clock and if one of the gears doesn’t work then none of them do.”

Dennis Wright has been serving as the president of the 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale for over a decade. He currently is Sr. Business Technology Architect for CA Technologies.

The organization is run completely on a volunteer basis. Wright offered the following in reference to The Marshmallow Challenge.

“Today STEM exercise “The Marshmallow Challenge” allows our mentees to understand the power of collaboration and teamwork.  This is exactly what the 100 Leadership Academy is all about, exposing our young men to techniques and concepts that provide intellectual stimulation, driving more focus on their education.

The Marshmallow Challenge is a remarkably fun and instructive design exercise that encourages teams to experience simple but profound lessons in collaboration, innovation and creativity.”

The 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale, Inc. is a non-profit civic and community based organization that serves as a catalyst for the disadvantaged and underrepresented segments of the community. The 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale, Inc. will serve as a beacon of leadership by utilizing our diverse talents to create an environment where our children are motivated to achieve. Additionally, we will work to empower people so that they become self-sufficient participants in the economic fabric of Broward County. The 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale, Inc. is committed to serving our community based upon the following principles: Respect for Family, Justice, and Integrity.

Jones’ courageous battle took on a whole new meaning when he offered the following insight with respect to anyone in the audience who might be contemplating experimenting with the highly addictive drug. “One is too many and a thousand is not enough,” said a beleaguered Jones.

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    Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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