Freshly Cut

Meet the SEED20 Class of 2020: Emerge – The Art of Leadership

Representative: Ryan McGill

The mission of Emerge is to develop Charlotte’s youth into confident, powerful, and compassionate leaders. The focus of Emerge is to teach students “leadership in life” skills through the practice of martial arts. Through martial arts, meditation, and project-based leadership training, Emerge teaches the tools needed to prepare and expand the development of Charlotte’s youth for the challenges they face in their lives.

How did your organization start?

During a run for City Council, I had the opportunity to speak with and learn from many people here is Charlotte. One noticeable challenge we face in Charlotte was confirmed repeatedly in my conversations: a distinct need for youth programming that is dynamic, engaging, uplifting and challenging to our young citizens. Many of these types of activities come at a high price tag. An average cost for lessons is $120 a month. Parents have no choice and few options, and many of our children miss out.

From where does your passion for this cause come?

My passion comes from life experiences; my 30-plus years of study in the martial arts, my ongoing military service spanning three branches (Navy, Marines and now the Army), and my education focusing on international affairs, leadership and nonprofit management. I am fueled by an insatiable drive to better the lives of people in the world around me. The potential to transform the possibility of our world begins with our children, and they deserve every opportunity to succeed in that endeavor.

Why is your work so important?

Our work is essential because it takes life skills such as bully prevention, self control, and self discipline that are practiced on the mats, repetitively and with a mindful purpose—and puts those tools to use off of the mats, in the community, for the benefit of self, others, the city, and the world.

What excites you most about the SEED20 process?

The opportunity to learn from great minds, use that knowledge to build my program, and grow as a person in this journey to be of service to the families of Charlotte.

What do you hope to gain from the SEED20 experience?

I hope to build new relationships with the other extraordinary individuals who have taken on the challenge of building a resilient city. I look forward to learning and growing from those relationships and I dream for the ability to provide the study of martial arts to any family whose child wants to learn. 

Facebook: @CharlotteEmerge

Instagram: @CharlotteEmerge

Twitter: @EmergeCharlotte

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