Life as a Teen Leader
As you may all know, I am one of the founders of Teen Cub and have been involved since its origin in May 2005, I thought I would share with you guys how that experience has been!
When Teen Club started really, it wasn’t that much fun. I mean, we appreciated the fact that we had a place to go, but it wasn’t yet ours. We would come to the Botswana-Baylor Clinic and paint and talk about feelings. Who enjoyed that? Not me – yet! The whole year we would talk about how we feel about coming, how we feel about life, it got irritating, less fun, and BORING! They would try to “spice” things up and give us paints and brushes and say, “paint you happy moments in life.” Hmmm…
But the years went on and we saw a lot of changes, more teens and better activities, and trust me, they were better. 2006 came in and we grew to about at-least 10 teens. As for the activities, we would go out of the Baylor premises, I remember one exciting one that we went to Gaborone Game Reserve, was my first time and I enjoyed it, even though the monkeys stole our food.
In the year 2008, we had more teens and the implementation of teen leaders started. I was elected teen leader by my peers and since then have maintained the post. At first, the role was harder than I thought, I thought it would be me just talking to my peers and that’s all, but nooo, it had other responsibilities. One of the responsibilities I had was to talk to sponsors and donors for Teen Club at meetings and let them know about Teen Club and how it helps me and other teens. At first, it was hard to talk to strangers, but as a leader, I had to do it, not just for me, but for my peers too.
It was hard really, being a leader that is. There were lots of expectations. People wanted me to do well. I knew I had to do well. I had to be a role model. But hey, I did it, I was, and still am one person that my peers look up to.
We had trainings where we were fully trained on listening skills, problem solving and the two major ones that have helped us as leaders were communication and team work. We must communicate well and be able to work together, to run Teen Club smoothly!
So really the years 2008-2010 were the best time of my life. I got a chance to go to Swaziland and facilitate to teens who are also HIV+. It was a fun experience. I didn’t just teach, I also learnt a lot from them. We shared knowledge. But in that period too, I got to meet big people in Botswana; from musicians to judges, lawyers to succeeding policemen, the list goes on. It was a challenge when I started, but a win when I finished, sadly! The year 2011 came, April was not the month for me, I retired! Sigh! I wanted to give other teens a chance to do what I have been doing. I wanted to see if they could apply what I have been sharing with them. And I am happy to tell you that the teens who have taken over are the best and I know they will take Teen Club to the top…
My name is Thato Chris Ramotswe and I love and am proud of who I am. Need I remind you, I am 18(going 19 in November) this year and I am HIV+.