Stephen Sowell’s “fearless” advice


Fearless Five

Tifton’s own Stephen Sowell, the leader of the ’06 “Fearless Fives,” shares his small group advice.

ML: What tips do you have for a successful first meeting with your group?

SS: I usually made fun of myself and the other OL’s in general. These kids just came off their cool Senior trip/cruise, so they think you’re an idiot…so I found that making fun of myself loosened things up a bit. Also remember that you’re coming off the Intro’s…which more than likely, they will enjoy…so harp on that a bit.

ML: What tips do you have for a successful evening meeting with your group?

SS: GO OVER ADVISING. I found as the summer went on that more and more kids were clueless when it came to advising. It’ll save you a lot of headaches if you just go over what their advising appointment will look like and what their advisor will say. Make them comfortable with this process.

ML: How did you encourage discussion in your meetings?

SS: I had everyone introduce themselves and give the basic info: Name, hometown, high school, intended major. More times than not, you’ll have kids that went to the same high school and didn’t even know each other…especially in Atlanta. For the kids not from Atlanta I’d try to talk to them more about where they were from…tried to get them to elaborate a bit. A non-ATL kid at UGA can feel pretty lonely at Orientation…be wary of this.

ML: Did you use icebreakers, and, if so what did you use?

SS: Not really. I don’t recommend them. I always thought it was sort of silly, and these kids don’t want to be treated like high schoolers any more.

ML: Any tricks for remembering names?

SS: I’d always try to link it to where they were from. For example, I’d say to myself, “that’s Rachel from Beuamont” or “Kevin from St. Simons.” I’d also try to learn their last name. I’ve found even now that if a kid will tell me their last name, I’m able to remember their first name.

ML: What surprised you about leading small groups?

SS: I thought they were fun. It’s the best time for you to have influence on a kid. I always made sure they knew I was there to help them. The best time for you to get to know a kid is at the tailgate dinner. Find someone from your group and have a seat. I loved that part.

ML: What would you do differently in your group if you got to do it over again this summer?

SS: Not much. I never did quotes or played the, “I’m going to try and save the world within this meeting….” I was just real with them. You can have the greatest impact by just spending time with kids. Get to know them.


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