By Angela Espinoza, News Editor
The 2014 Douglife retreat is heading out October 3 (until October 5), the application deadline for which was on September 17. Although applications are now closed, students taking part in this year’s event and those considering attending next year’s have plenty to look forward to.
“The student leadership retreat that is run by Campus Life is an annual trip where we invite all students from Douglas College,” said manager of student engagement, Erin Biddlecombe.
“There’s an application process because we want to get a sense of why people are interested in coming and developing their leadership skills with us.”
Each year the retreat selects up to 40 students to take part in leadership development and team building activities over the course of three days. This year’s retreat is taking place at Squamish’s Camp Summit, an all-ages site that offers camping and outdoor activities throughout the year.
“There’ll be workshops that will be presented by Douglas College staff. We’ve got a handful of staff members going up for support and to facilitate,” said Biddlecombe. “This year’s group [has] 39 students who are coming from Douglas. We’ve got great representation from both campuses and great representation from across the different academic programs and the different types of certificates, diplomas, and degrees, so that’s really exciting for us.
“It’s a chance for students to not only develop their own leadership skills, but to build their network of peers. How often is a second-year nursing student going to connect with somebody who’s doing a certificate in [something else]?”
Biddlecombe also stated that this year’s crew is teaming up with students from the University of the Fraser Valley, a first for the annual retreat.
“We’re co-hosting the retreat with the University of the Fraser Valley … they’re going to be sending 20 students. [It’s another] way for our students to meet other likeminded folks who are interested in learning about themselves as leaders.
“We will be offering student attendees a number of workshops over the weekend. Students will walk away with a better understanding of their own leadership style and how to manage the multiple priorities that come from being in a leadership role. We are also going to offer more technical workshops on skills like how to manage an effective meeting, how to balance your budget—be it a personal budget or your club’s budget—and two workshops on event planning and management.”
While the workshops and training are a major part of the retreat, additional activities and downtime will be offered for the students.
“There’s a ropes course, an archery range, and the intention is that they’ll also have a chance to develop their network through these informal activities.
“It’s not going to be all work … we’re going to each night have some time for them to just casually network. We want [the students] to not just come and get to know people and then never talk to each other again, we want them to think about how they might continue to work together after the retreat. Maybe they’re going to start up a club on campus or maybe they’ll want to start up a business.”
Biddlecombe added that the importance of the retreat, and of Campus Life’s involvement, relies heavily on teaching students life skills that could benefit them greatly in the future.
“We know that employers are looking to hire graduates who are not only technically savvy but who also exhibit leadership skills. They want to hire graduates who are confident leaders. Campus Life exists not only to help foster campus community, but also to provide Douglas College students with leadership development opportunities that will complement what they’re learning inside of the classroom so that they will succeed in the workforce.”