United Muslim Foundation (UMF) took the opportunity last weekend to work with the Husseini Islamic Center, who opened their doors to welcome Emerge USA’s Emerging Leaders with a warm lunch reception after congregation prayers. UMF organized a presentation with an interactive simulation, so emerging youth leaders, as well as current leaders and the congregation in attendance, could explore the opportunities and challenges we are faced with when mosques and Muslim organizations come together with different ideas on how to achieve a similar objective.
“Experience is a hard teacher, because she gives the test first and the lessons afterwards”Vernon Law
Those of us in leadership positions know there’s nothing as valuable as experience that leads to insight. Yet all too often, being tied up in the daily grind blinds many from seeing the bigger picture and creating the paradigm shift necessary to achieve only the best.
The discoveries made, were not startling in how they paralleled real life scenarios. Emerging youth leaders were able to discover what it’s like to work within an organization with those in different leadership capacities, and explored working with other organizations to overcome hurdles. They got to fundraise, solicit volunteers and market an event to the audience who was given power to share or withhold as they pleased. The mosques were given power in the simulation too, to open their doors to congregants either to market and/or fundraise, or to isolate their congreagation from others. And the participants ended up with some exciting and unexpected results, which were shared and discussed.
As these Emerging Leaders launch themselves into a world filled with all the hope and optimism of youth, they will be able to take with them not only the beautiful gems of insight brought about by their united efforts through this interactive event, but also the knowledge that mosques and organizations can and must work together in order to bring synergy to our efforts as American Muslims. After all, the youth are the hope of our future. We simply teach them, then watch in wonder as they lead the way.