Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Leadership Camping Trip

At my school, I recently joined one of the leadership programs that's offered. The goal of the program is to receive a leadership certificate from the school, which really is only valid at the school, but I thought that it would be a good way to make friends without going too far out of my comfort zone, so I signed up!

This past weekend, everyone in the leadership program went on a camping retreat, which was super awesome, and way colder than expected! At the meeting to prep for the retreat, they stressed the awesomeness of the water activities that were available, and the beauty of the nearby woods that we could hike in and explore during free time. 

However, after we actually got to the campsite, it was about 50 degrees, which was quite the change after having 90 degree days for the rest of the summer. We got off the buses in our shorts, sandals, and t-shirts, and were immediately rushing into the cabins to warm up. I don't think I've ever been happier about packing a sweatshirt and a heavy duty sleeping bag!

Fun fact, I did indeed bring a sleeping bag with me to college. Like, a legit sleeping bag that you'd use for real actual camping. I brought it because, when I visited my friend who was at her school's summer advantage program, she had a sleeping bag, which made it more comfortable for me to be there on her dorm room floor. I don't know how soon my friends will be coming to visit me, because it's an extremely long drive, but I figured that it wouldn't hurt to just have a sleeping bag in my possession.

Now, the type of camping that was happening on the retreat was no cell service, with the bathroom with working plumbing and electricity is a bit of a walk from the cabins. It wasn't at all the kind of camping where no one showers, and you become "one with nature".

We were split into groups based off of where we live on campus, so I was able to befriend the 19 people in my group who all live fairly close to me, and participated in a bunch of icebreaker activities that were out of my comfort zone.

We did the Human Knot game, where you get into a fairly large group and grab hands with the people across a circle from you to get your arms in a huge knot, and then you have to work together to untangle your arms while still holding hands.

Basically, you stand uncomfortably close to people who all (hopefully) smell nice, and hold hands with them while you argue about who should go under who's armpit to untangle your arms. Which, for me, was more uncomfortable and awkward than funny.

One of my favorite activities that we did was when we were split into group of people who were the same leadership types as us to build a tower out of spaghetti noodles and marshmallows. We all figured out very quickly that it's really hard to make things work out when you're in a group of people who are the same type of leaders as you. All of the people who have the mindset of "I should lead. My way is the best way. Follow what I'm doing." all got frustrated and started working on individual towers by themselves.

All of the more free spirited leadership types ended up making a small "house" that they colored on with pens. Theirs fell over, and they viewed it from the perspective of "Oh well! It was fun to do, and we at least tried it".

I was in a group with people who are very organized, analytical, and quiet leaders (Just in case you didn't catch that, it's my leadership type). We spent the whole time organizing our noodles from tallest to shortest, drawing out what we wanted out final tower to look like, and then spent the rest of the time breaking up the noodles to be the right lengths and deciding how to break up the marshmallows so that we had enough to attach the noodles together.

After that activity, I was kind of amazed at the fact that it was so hard to work with people who were really similar to me. Clearly, I was wrong when I went into the task with the mindset of this is going to be perfect because we'll all understand each other and look at the situation the same way. 

What that activity taught me is that everyone in a group is a leader, they're just different types of leaders, and in order for the group to actually function properly, it's important to have someone from each of the different leadership groups.

Now, I know you're all wondering how the water activities that were stressed so heavily worked out when they were actually allowed to happen.

The day of, it was raining. We were inside the whole morning instead of outside because of the intense amount of rain that was pouring down on us. However, when swimming time came around, the rain had stopped! Everyone rushed to get into their swimsuits, and went down to the water as quick as they could. Several people immediately went up to the Zip Line that ended in the water. Much to their surprise upon jumping off the dock or going down the Zip Line, the water was freezing cold because everything about being outside while we were there was cold.

Most of the people who got into the water got out of it pretty quickly, and substituted swimming for paddle boarding, or canoeing that are more out of the water. Several people went down the Zip Line once, and then they had their fill of the water and went back to their cabins to change into warmer clothes.

I was one of the smarter people who didn't want to get pneumonia that stayed on the beach and watched people go down the Zip Line. I also took tons of photos, which I really enjoyed! When it comes to water activities, there's an endless amount of things to take photos of. I'll be posting some of the photos that I took in my next post on Thursday, so be looking out for them! 

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