During the six weeks, the students are exposed to different tools to use in their everyday lives that will benefit them from the moment they step out of the program till the rest of their lives, and this year’s Protégés were no exception in taking advantage of the full experience.
The Generation 6 (G6) Protégés started off with a bang from the first day of their journey with wise words from their mentors, an eclectic group of successful individuals who have different elements of experience and pearls of wisdom to bring into the students’ lives. The mentors are selected based on their professional backgrounds and experiences, including professions in corporate training, social media awareness, life coaching, communications, productions, and even a Reiki master – to name a few. Such Mentors include Ms. Rana AlKhaled, for example, an advocate for tolerance, individualism, respect for the law and public resources, work ethic, integrity and volunteer work. Other mentors, such as Mr. Mohammed AlMunaikh are business buffs who have years of entrepreneurial experience and have founded apps and other businesses in the State of Kuwait. Mentors such as these two, amongst others, guided the students throughout their six weeks in the program and contributed in teaching them the secrets they know about life, extending beyond business facts. “A lesson I want to pass to every Protégé is that life is not linear, and that it isn’t necessarily a bad thing”, said Mentor Mohammed.
What did the mentors have in store this year for the G6 Protégés? Each day offered something different – from general icebreakers that allowed them to connect on deeper levels, to out-of-the-box discussions that inspired them to seek different perspectives on life. An example of an activity was one entitled “If Walls Could Speak”. Assigned by Mentor Rana, the students creatively presented acts and plays, to tell the many stories a wall could hold. Through this, they were taught to appreciate the beauty around them, and to look and reflect upon their surroundings.
On top of rounded discussions and in-house activities given by mentors, The Protégés were also given mini-field trips within Kuwait to experience different settings to broaden their horizons. Whether it was when they visited Yadawi, a crafts studio in Jabriya, to learn how to make beautiful art out of unlikely scraps and objects, or when they visited Marina FM to meet Ali Najm, one of the GCC’s most prominent radio talk show hosts, where they were challenged to find a news story and give an impromptu report, they kept learning to work together in teams and explore different problem-solving strategies.
Food for thought was on the daily menu for The Protégés, and this extended beyond activities. The students were rewarded lectures from an array of local speakers on a daily basis. These speakers would teach them different life lessons to consider – such as, what it is to be “Charismatic”, an inspirational lecture led by Protégés founder and mentor Shamlan AlBahar and notable contemporary figure, Khalid Al-Buraiki. In doing this, they also introduce the students to positive role models – not only through themselves, but also through examples of notable figures such as Audrey Hepburn and Mahatma Gandhi, and what makes them charismatic.
Another notable guest speaker was Sheikha Intisar Al Sabah, founder and editorial director of Lulua Publishing and the founder of the Alnowair positivity initiative. Sheikha Intisar had a lot to contribute in her lecture, giving the students her valuable thoughts on positivity – another example of an attribute that will benefit them in the long run.
And then, there was Boston – an opportunity so great, and an experience so unforgettable that these lucky students were able to enjoy. The Protégés, being guests of the prestigious Boston College, would reconvene daily to expose themselves to the realities of a culture and an everyday life that occurs on the opposite side of the globe, which widened their horizons. They engaged in daily 6 a.m. drama therapy sessions with Fatmah Al-Qadfan, an Intensive Individual Support Provider who taught them the value of starting their days off on an energetic and positive note, and even met Pulitzer Prize winning author Paul Harding, the author of – one of the many novels The Protégés were recommended to read by their mentors.
The Boston experience was not without reflection, and the students embraced it. On their last day, amidst a leadership seminar led by mentors, they were given a task to reflect on, write down and present the valuable lessons they had learned at that point in the program. With a lot of gratitude expressed to the college and the mentors, their expression of what they had learned was incredibly deep, and upon completing this segment of the program in the fashion of a ceremony held for them at the College, they reflected on all that was learned and how they can improve. “The best moment in The Protégés was when I knew what my greatness was: it was all about the simple and basic things in me. When I knew that, everything suddenly clicked.” Reflected one Protégé, Noura Al Jouan. “To me, [the simple and basic things] were my weaknesses, but apparently they were my strengths.”
The students arrived back to Kuwait as changed individuals after Boston, and completed their weeks as pending Protégés with even more in their pockets than they could’ve ever imagined. “The feeling of being able to say anything to so many ears who are keen to listen without misunderstanding is how I found my idea of heaven” is how (Protégé) Alaa Al Balushi expressed the experience.
This program is evidently a valuable one in character building, and for students aged 16-24, it’s a great investment to consider. Not only because of the opportunities they are exposed to, both locally and abroad, but because of the life lessons and tools they’ll collect along the way of this magical six week journey. It was always said, throughout the past generations, that once you’re a Protégé, you’re a Protégé for life—and judging by G6’s Summer 2016 experiences and lessons, we think we understand why.
Are you 16-24 and want to be a Protégé for life? Apply now for G7 Summer 2017 at: www.theProtégés.org. Follow them on Instagram @theProtégés. Read about The Protégés’ Boston trip on our website www.bazaar.town.