On September 10th, 2016, I hopped on a bus with my LAS cohort and the sophomore cohort above us. We headed over to Eagle Village in Hersey, Michigan for the weekend. After hanging out for a little bit, we presented the “Road Map” life timeline project that we were required to create before retreat. Later on, we were required to do a list of team building activities. We were assigned a certain group, and we stuck with that group for the weekend. After a long day of stressful events, we all gathered around a campfire to make s’mores and give “shoutouts” to our friends and mentors. This was my favorite part of the night, because it really showed how genuine these people are. Everyone was opening up and showing their true feelings, and it was amazing to see everyone’s different personalities.
The next morning, we had some free times to climb rock walls and hang out. It was my first time climbing a rock wall, so I was as nervous as ever. It also didn’t help that I was afraid of heights! As I was climbing the wall, I was about to give up because I thought I couldn’t climb any higher. The mentors and mentees on the ground below me kept urging me to go higher and were cheering me on, so I got a burst of adrenaline and kept climbing. I felt so awesome once I reached my goal, and I was so happy that I was able to get over my fear of heights (for a little bit, at least). After rock climbing, we went back to our team building activities. These activities were stressful and required teamwork and concentration. For one of the activities, the requirement was to take two PVC pipes and a golf ball and get the ball to the other side of the room without it falling onto the ground. This activity took our group two hours to complete. Yeah, you read that right- TWO HOURS. Everyone was getting extremely frustrated that the ball kept falling onto the ground, so our group leader offered us the option to give up and move on to the next activity. My group wasn’t ready to accept failure, and we continued the activity for a while longer. Finally, after several (and I do mean several) tries, we got the ball to the other side of the room. My entire group started screaming and running around, and we all were ecstatic that we kept trying and finally achieved our goal.
After the team building events, we moved on to the High Ropes course. As I mentioned before, I really hate heights. I was nervous to participate in the course, but I decided to do it because I wanted to gain a new experience and I was hoping to learn something new out of it. After saddling up and putting our helmets on, I climbed up the ladder with my mentor, Faith, and my LAS “brother”, Markus. The very first course I did involved crawling across a rope, and I instantly fell off and had to work my way back to the platform. Every time I fell off, someone would cheer me on and tell me that I could make it to the end of the course. Each course required various skills and determination, and it was extremely tiring. Not to mention, the course was around 50 feet off the ground. Once again, heights- not my thing. Though I fell off multiple times, I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome of the ropes course. I learned new skills and got to step out of my comfort zone and try something new.
Now What? Retreat was something I’ll always remember, and I loved getting to bond with new friends from my cohort that I didn’t get to talk to very often. The event taught me many skills, and really showed me what leadership is about. I can’t wait to make even more connections with people within my cohort and experience many new things with them. I am excited to develop new skills and show everyone the leader I can be. I am so thankful that I was able to connect with genuine, kindhearted people, and learn new skills that I can use for the rest of my life.
Check out this awesome Retreat video for a recap of our weekend!