Recap of Douglas College leadership retreat
By Meagan Schlee-Bedard, Contributor
The Douglife Leadership Retreat, one of the greatest and least-known experiences offered by the Douglas College Centre for Campus Life and Athletics, took place from October 4 to 6. The goal of the retreat is to let students grow personally and professionally as leaders outside of the classroom. As one of the 39 students and six staff to participate in this year’s Leadership Retreat, it was one of the best moments of my life. From the moment you walk through the hallway with your duffel bag there is a new sense of belonging; everyone wants to meet everyone because nobody knows anyone.
“Within the first two hours everyone had bonded,” said Steven Wang, a participant of the leadership retreat, when asked about his experience.
Arriving at Camp Summit in Squamish at around 8:30 p.m., it was dark, cold, and there was a bus full of excited but hungry college students. After some food, it was time for team building. You know those silly little games that apparently no one wants to play? These silly little games motivated campfire conversations and card games that sometimes went until 5 a.m.
The next day was more athletic: high ropes, rock climbing, and low ropes. The team work and encouragement involved meant so much more than personal growth alone. The mind-blowing power of encouragement is largely what helped each participant climb as far as they did. Some people faced their fear of heights and others like me had to face physical barriers, while environmental elements and even the task itself presented a challenge.
The next challenge tomorrow’s leaders had to face was that of public speaking. We had a workshop on what constitutes an excellent public speaker and what doesn’t, but the most beneficial part was the practice time. We had to do a one-minute presentation and were given a safe place to receive high quality feedback—feedback which we will continue to learn from as we continue in professional environments.
We also had a healthy living workshop where we learned about all things health-related. Both the public speaking and healthy living workshops allowed us to ask meaningful questions and set goals for ourselves that we could reflect on and work towards after we left the retreat.
Last but not least we did trust workshops, as we took the falling trick to new extremes and fell from tables into the arms of our new companions. The most personal growth happened during this exercise, because of the very real danger of not being caught. I was the last one in my group to drop, tears hanging out of my eyes, but the relief of conquering my biggest fear was well worth it. Opening my eyes and realizing that I was perfectly okay left me speechless.
Overall, an amazing week! Some of the fun things that in my more profound personal account of events I didn’t cover include the staff at the campfire dancing and the salsa energizers we had to do at 7:30 a.m.
Thanks to everyone who went to the leadership retreat and to all the organizers. I hope everyone that reads this is as excited as I am for next year!