The summer of '91 started with a BANG! I pulled into the parking lot of the Civic Theater in downtown Akron at 6:00 p.m. for my high school graduation...EXACTLY 12 hours later...at 6 a.m. the next morning I was on an airplane headed to Estes Park, CO (that is sacrificing for Jesus in Estes Park!!) for Continental Singers rehearsal camp. What I didn't realize at the time was that I was about to learn some hard lessons on leadership that summer.
I LOVED my first tour on Continentals...AMAZING life changing summer...but the summer of '91 was different...this summer we had a VERY talented group, but we had A LOT of turmoil on the team...LOTS of personal and relationship issues...we had over 10 girls with eating disorders...we had one guy take his bag and walk away from the tour...LITERALLY...walked away one night in the middle of one of our concerts...we had people drinking alcohol at host families houses, knowing it wasn't allowed on tour...it was CRAZY stuff!
I deeply loved my director Vin...a major mentor in my life...and it deeply hurt me to see him struggle through the summer. To see him lead through the mess...He was personally attacked (not physically...although we were on guard a couple of times!!) during and well after the tour. I often felt caught in the middle...Having toured with Vin the year before, he looked to me to lead and I could see Vin's side of things and could understand some of my friends on tour side of things...It was a very difficult summer...and I learned a valuable lesson at 18 years old...leadership is not for the weak! People look at leaders and lift them up on a pedestal...they would see Vin lead our concerts...confident...passionate...and yet they had no idea that behind the scenes there was major conflict that he had to deal with...I hurt for him. The lesson for me was...if you want to lead it is NOT just about those upfront...on stage moments...the majority of leadership is behind the scenes and it is tough!
I left that summer with stomach issues...there were concerts where I could barely stand while we sang and danced...I learned that in leadership, you can't keep everything inside or it will kill you...literally kill you!
I thank God for Vin...because through all of the conflict he NEVER QUIT! In fact...he is still a worship pastor now...he didn't allow the negative issues to destroy him...he is continuing to fight the good fight and he didn't give in to the pressure.