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I LOVE being a Leader!! Why?

Thursday, September 12, 2019

I joined Sparks in Dec 2010 and at once was told about a team called "The 2011 Winter 5% Challenge" and was smitten by it!!

I was put on a team called "Spirited Under Dogs" since at the time there were 9 or 10 teams (I think??) and I felt so LOST on this team!! Oh I WAS LOST!! I barely understood Sparks or what a team does, but the Leaders and many members embraced me and helped me along. I was thriving with the help I was receiving! And I HAVE since than too!

The 5% Challenges run for 8 weeks with a break of 4 to 6 (in general) weeks. The very next challenge the Spirited Under Dogs needed a ML (Motivational Leader) and hey I wasn't quite sure what that was, though I had read the description of it. I volunteered and YEAH became their ML!!

What has this done for the team? Well it was already a strong team, and I had MUCH to learn, but working with the other 4 to 5 leaders (It can vary) the SUD team became a top team. A bunch of men and woman working towards one goal, to be their BEST. Now this is true of ALL teams, on any challenge or theme based team on Sparks (and off Sparks also) if the leaders truly care. It's rare on Sparks to find any teams that don't.

So what has this done FOR ME??? When I first joined Sparks, I hadn't done any volunteer work in a few years and hadn't worked for 15 years with a paying job. I was still in a very deep depression, and I weighed 246 lbs (down from 288 and at that point from 256 to 246 on Sparks) used a power chair 97% of the time.

I'm in the white. A friend gave me this picture the other night.

Being a Leader has helped me to regain back confidence. Yes "regain" at first though I was willing, I didn't know how much I'd personally benefit. When one is chronically ill most often one tends to think of what we are going thru, to a very large degree, though we may KNOW others do go thru hard things, we likely do not realize to the extent we are usually/mostly concerned with ourselves and how others "Just do NOT get it!"

I was easily in that state of mind. Easy to be when one is mostly isolated from others.

BUT!! As I learned more, became more involved in helping others, I realized I was NOT the only one going thru stuff, many going thru unreal things that I hadn't and still haven't. Its made me a less selfish person. A person who has more compassion for others. I now look at things in way of "What can help so and so, or what can help the majority on our team?"

In doing so, my life has turned out to be very happy. I feel more fulfilled. I have a purpose.

This past Spring I changed positions and teams. I am still a part of the 5% Challenge, but now I am no longer the ML on the Spirited Under Dog (Dawg now) team, but rather I've been able to be the CL (Challenge Leader) of the AWESOME A team. I KNEW the SUD team was good, and have learned that the AWESOME A is also!! And now totally understand ALL the teams are. Each may have a different focus, some may not be as competitive as others (and on the Competitive ones, we want those who are not competitive with us, it doesn't matter if you can only do 10 mins a day of exercise or more, we ALL started some place, I could barely move when I started) and may focus on a different aspect, but yes, all teams are supportive, all teams aim to be active.

As the CL I've grown even more so. I have a I CAN DO IT attitude because the other 5 leaders working with me, do and all are cheering each other on, looking for the best in each other, and in our team makes my heart rejoice that much more. Our members are indeed AWESOME!!

I am working again very part time (11 hours a week) with the elderly and I LOVE IT!! Had I NOT of become a leader would I be thriving? Maybe?? maybe not, but clearly I've benefited so much more than those on the team(s) I've been able to encourage, and I've been even more encouraged by them!!

Now on the 5% Challenge we've received the following email from an Over All Leader today:
A few positions have been filled. Here is what we still need. Please consider being a Team Leader.

Casual Travelers need someone to act as Challenge Leader, (MaryAnn will continue to do the numbers)
Spirited Underdawgs need an EL, (not sure about this one. MaryAnn?)
Starfish need a Weight Leader
Teddy Bears need a Weight Leader and a Motivational Leader

Below are the Leader Guidelines. Interested members please contact me and _WARRIOR4LIFE, (in the same email), with any questions or to step up. Thanks!


IMPORTANT - The Weigh-in Leader & Challenge Leader MUST have a backup Extra Leader who will step up if it appears the WL or CL is unavailable. There can be situations where a Leader may not be able to communicate they will be away and the EL's keep the weigh-ins and challenges running smoothly. For instance, if a topic needs to be set up to post team points. Please specify who your backup EL is.

Motivational Leader - Creates and holds chat threads, keeps up with the team members special days like birthdays, posts daily member in the spotlight, or other occurrences and posts announcements. Reads and comments on members blogs. Does the daily - Member in the Spotlight. Please encourage the EL's to assist with this!

Weigh-in Leader - Creates and maintains the thread for weekly weigh-ins, records these on the goggle spreadsheet weekly, posts reminders to weigh-in and announcements.

Extra Leader - Provides back up to the other team leaders as requested or NEEDED. Reads and comments on members blogs, notifies the other leaders if there is an exceptional blog or someone needs support. Consider the EL to a leader in training or an experienced leader with less of a time commitment. Assign specific duties to the EL in addition to the general the preceding.

Note: Spark goodies for your team members. Use them or lose them - at the end of each month they are wiped out and new ones are awarded, but the prior months are gone. Amongst the leaders decide how they will be used and who will award them.

For more detailed information

Motivation Leader (ML)

- Sets up Discussion Forum
- Is the team's main cheerleader
- Notifies team about member's B-day, anniversaries, special occasions
- Checks on team members that have dropped off the radar
- Notifies other team leaders when team members need to hear from them
- Team only challenges and surveys
- Assists other leaders as needed

Weight Leader (WL)

- Sets up Weight Forum
- Tracks team's weekly weights & weight loss.
- Posts weight on Google Docs spreadsheet created by Community Weight
- Assists other leaders as needed

Extra Leader (EL)

- Read team member's blogs as time allows and leave comments
- Cheerleader for your team.
- Assists other leaders as requested or needed
- Encourages team members
- Helps keep the team page upbeat
- There can be changes in leadership and our extra leaders are ready to step in

FINALLY, make sure that you add the current Team (Your Team/Leader/Community) so they are visible on your SparkPages. Also, consider changing your signatures to reflect that you are a leader of the 2019 team.

indeed I've gotten SO MUCH MORE out of being a Leader than the time I put into it. Does it take time? Yes it does. A lot of time? Depends on you and the position you offer yourself for as well as the needs of the team. That varies greatly from position to position, team to team, be it on the 5% Challenge team or any of the other thousands of teams Sparks has, or even non sparks teams.

Is it worth it?


TY to all who I've been privileged to be a Leader of your team or am currently. You've enlightened me, encouraged me, made me cry from your hardships to the strength you display. As a Leader I've learned so much more about so many of you, grown, loved, changed because of you.

I am thankful.


If you've ever thought "Oh I'd like to try that, but,,,,, (fill in the blank)" why not write to your team leader? Ask MANY and ANY questions about it. Be it the 5% Challenge or any other team. Or if it scares the daylights out of you, hey it DID ME TOO!! But, still write and ask questions.

You'll get out of it WAY MORE than you put into it.

If you are not a part of the 5% Challenge and want to be a member or even a Leader please go my page, click on the 2019 Fall 5% Challenge and join us. Than write to the leader of the team you have chosen (sorry the Awesome A is full and all leader rolls are also filled) and ask about being a Leader.

For the ones who may be new to my blog here's what I look like today:

My foot is starting to finally feel a little better!! it's been almost 3 weeks and I want to be all healed in 2 weeks because we are going GLAMPING!! LOVE GLAMPING!!

for reading this!!

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