3x Member on the SCA Continuum
Chicago’s Kailon Lang, 19, is on his third SCA hitch. After two summers as an SCA community crew member, he’s returned as an apprentice crew leader, advancing along the SCA conservation continuum. As he gains a deeper connection and understanding of nature, Kailon also talks about learning communication skills, team building tactics and leadership skills. These are precisely the skills that SCA helps develop in youth as demonstrated by a recent study with the Search Institute. They are also the skills that years of research have proven to make youth more successful in life.
Last month, Kailon starred with Mayor Rahm Emanuel at a news conference kicking off SCA Chicago’s summer season, sponsored by BP.
Your third hitch? You must enjoy SCA life…
Working with SCA has been tremendous. Over the past two summers, I’ve had the privilege of working under exceptional crew leaders and with crew members from different parts of Chicago who care about making a sustainable impact on our environment and protecting biodiversity.
How is this summer going?
It’s been very enjoyable. Each day, I’m getting more confident using a chainsaw. I really like my other apprentice crew leaders at Dan Ryan Woods. The more we are together, the better our chemistry gets, which will lead to future success in completing conservation projects.
How has your previous experience come into play?
One example of a new leadership skill I gained through SCA is communication. During my training, I learned there are four types of learning styles: verbal, nonverbal, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. I now know when to use each one, depending on how engaged my crew is when doing an activity.
What else have you recognized?
My connection to nature has increased. I have a better understanding of how nature intertwines with our world and how it functions. I’ve gained a better understanding of the importance that nature plays in our world and how every living thing contributes to it.
You seemed to connect with the mayor, too…
It was great to meet Mayor Emmanuel. He’s a really nice guy, an incredible person who cares about making Chicago one of the most enjoyable cities to live in. It was a memorable experience that I will keep for the rest of my life.
What did you guys talk about?
We talked about SCA and what it stands for, what college I attend [Illinois State], my current major [Agricultural Science], my neighborhood, and my SCA experiences.
It was an unusual first day on the job…
It was great to meet so many people who care about making a difference in our world: Mayor Emanuel, [Indiana Dunes NS Supt.] Paul Labovitz, [BP America President] John Minge, and [SCA CEO] Jaime Matyas. They seemed really passionate and enthusiastic. I have to admit I was a little bit nervous, but I really appreciate the support and confidence everyone had in me.