Hard to believe that it has been almost 3 weeks since we have returned to the states from our mission trip to Kenya with Managers On A Mission. This has provided me with plenty of time to not only reflect on my 3 weeks in Africa but also my past 5 years working at West Virginia University for the men’s basketball program. I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with some of the best leaders in sports as well as travel to places I could only dream of. If I was not given the opportunity to work with WVU, then it’s hard to believe I would have been ready for this opportunity. Yes, obviously being a student-manager allows me to join MOAM, but in terms of caring for one another, the camaraderie of a team, and what it takes to build a winning attitude I would have to say that it would not have been possible without my growth in working at WVU. Being a manager, you’re asked to do tasks that no one notices, and there are times that you may wonder “What is the point of this?” Let me tell you that it matters. It matters more than you know. Carrying out your job to the best of your ability means something to the people you’re working with and the team you’re doing it for.
One of those tasks for me was cleaning out the weight room. I mean hands and knees, scrubbing at a piece of iron that’s only going to get dirty tomorrow. That was my job and taking ownership of that job allowed me to gain more responsibility and contribute to the greater good of the team. Even as a lowly underclass student manager. However, I did not understand that while I was routinely going about the weight room with a rag and a bottle of cleaning solution. It took years for that perspective to grow and another 3-weeks in Kenya to really see the clouds clear up in my head. I watched nearly 100 children each day work around that village for hours upon hours doing chores, working hard in sports games with us, or caring for one another. That was their job and what was important to them as well as the mother’s they were doing it for. It didn’t matter what age either. I saw the oldest kids in a cottage take care of the youngest, and I saw the youngest children provide each group with the type of joy that changes one’s perspective of each day.
When you work at something and truly taking ownership of it, you are growing. You may not see it each small day, but one day you’ll look back and realize that it made you into the person you are today. That it would not be possible to be where you are without the maturing of working at a task until it is complete. It is these small messages that were fed to me during my time at WVU that I can not ignore while reflecting on our time in Africa. If you are a student manager and you are reading this just know that it is possible. It is possible to take a small task and make it yours. It is possible to carry out that task to the best of your abilities, not for yourself, but for your team. It is possible to travel over 7,000 miles and make an impact on 100 children and allow them to impact you even more. And it definitely is worth knowing this sooner than later.
I did not know what my impact on Managers On A Mission would be when I agreed to be a Social Media Intern this past spring, but I do know now that Managers On A Mission has impacted me greater than I could have imagined. I’m certain that none of this would be possible without my time at WVU, working for a staff that saw more in me and pushed to get me there each day. I have been blessed with these opportunities but even more so that someone saw it in me. Take the time to learn about this opportunity because once you’re a part of it, you are a part of something special.
“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” -2 Corinthians 9:6
-Justin D'Apolito, West Virginia Men's Basketball Manager Alumni
To God Be the Glory!