Leadership Garden Legacy was created by Debra J. Slover. After working for years with an Oregon youth leadership program, she decided to start her own company aimed at “empowering the unstoppable leader in each of us”. For this review, I got to sample two of her books. U.N.I.Q.U.E: Growing the Leader Within, aimed at older teens and adults, as well as U.N.I.Q.U.E. Kids: Growing My Leadership Garden aimed at children ages 8-12.
Both books tell the story of Hugh, the sheep, and his journey from being a frightened, timid sheep to becoming a self-confident leader. I will admit, both my 6th grade son and I had a hard time with the story. It just really didn’t appeal to us. With the adult version of the book, I found myself skimming the story to get to the lessons themselves. Debra weaves the lessons in with parts of her personal story, and I found these to be very powerful. There are also exercises at the end of each chapter, that can be done in a notebook, or with the Leadership Garden Guidebook. Both the book and the guidebook cost $18.95.
I appreciate Debra’s honesty in sharing her story with her readers. This made the program more authentic and easier to relate to. I did find some of the exercises to be a little “fluffy”, but I am not really a self-help book kind of person.
I did not have a lot of success with the U.N.I.Q.U.E. Kids book. Even though it is beautifully illustrated, my 6th grade son just could not get into the story. I read it out loud, I asked him to read it, but alas, he was just bored. We ended up using the questions at the end of the chapter for discussion, and just skimming the story for the parts that applied to the questions. Some of the questions did cause my son to think, but he spent a lot of time rolling his eyes at me! I will say that he is at the end of the age range for this book, and you might have more success with younger kids. The U.N.I.Q.U.E. Kids book costs $18.95.
We also received downloads of MP3’s for both books, as well as the U.N.I.Q.U.E. Kids Activity Guide & Journal. We did not use the MP3’s very much, but we did check out the activity guide. This is full of kid friendly activities to apply what is being learned in the book. My son enjoyed some of these, especially the cookie activity! I was also surprised at how accurate his self-assessment was. Honestly, I think he enjoyed doing the activities more than he liked reading the book. These activities did provide some opportunities for discussion, but I’m not sure they would actually translate into more than that. The PDF download for the kids activity guide costs $8.95.
For a limited time, Leadership Garden Legacy is offering the TOS community a “Spring Special Discount” of 20% off in addition to the already discounted Tool Kit Bundles. To receive the discount, enter the code: TOS-SS20D at checkout. This code expires May 31, 2013. To view the bundles and all other products from Leadership Garden, visit their website here:
Overall, while I do think this program is interesting and has potential, it wasn’t a big hit for us. I don’t think that was necessarily the fault of the program itself, it’s just that my son is at that awkward in-between stage, where he isn’t quite a little kid, but isn’t quite ready for teenage stuff yet. Personally, I prefer a more Christian based leadership program for my kids, but this could easily work for someone who is not looking for something with those beliefs included. I do think I would try to find these books at my library before I purchased them, just so I could see if they were going to work before I spent the money. You can find out what other crew members thought of the Leadership Garden Legacy products by clicking here: