After hearing “Come on this retreat, it’s ‘Hunger Games’ themed,” many students may have been a tad hesitant to immediately jump on the bandwagon. After all, the theme of this camping trip is a book/movie where the goal is to be the last alive.
However, this past weekend, 100 students from the College attended Leadership Development Program’s annual Fall Leadership Retreat at Diamond Ridge Campground in Bucks County, Pa.
“The whole point is to bring the students who attend the retreat closer together and help teach them new things about being a leader,” said Ben Levine, sophomore psychology major and member of LDP. “The events, games and workshops definitely accomplished that.”
After arriving at Diamond Ridge, the retreat began with team bonding games and team skits, which were followed by a bonfire and s’mores.
The following day was full of team activities including workshops, outdoor games and the final challenge.
“We wanted fun, interactive workshops that worked with the theme and got people excited,” said Kylie Moore, junior communication studies major. Moore and Julia Nelson, the two FLR committee chairs, had been planning the event since March.
“The stress we went through to plan it was all made worth it once we got to Diamond Ridge and saw that people were already having fun,” Moore said.
However, being a part of LDP is more than just fun, games and s’mores.
“(LDP) is a great opportunity to build confidence, problem solve, and build communication skills in a fun, no-pressure environment surrounded by some of the nicest people I’ve met on campus,” said Kelsey Snedeker, sophomore elementary education and math/science/technology major.
Although LDP consists of fun games and several ice-breaking activities, there is still a clear underlying goal.
“The mission of the Leadership Development Program is to encourage and develop qualities of leadership among our student body in order to help all interested reach their full potential,” said Aaron Creuz, LDP’s vice president of Retention and Recruitment.
A main way they accomplish this is through the use of their facilitators who work with other organizations, including high schools, to present workshops on any area or topic that the organizations feels they need work on, including confidence, time management and transitioning into the organization.
Chris Markulic, president of LDP said, “Every person will have something different that they can get out of LDP, from public speaking and communication to goal setting and résumé building.”
The events at the retreat helped to epitomize what LDP is truly about. Going into the retreat, I knew a total of three people at the event. However, in just a day, I was much closer with my team and really got to know a great group of people.
“Everyone seemed to be having fun and you could tell the difference in people in only 24 hours. Everyone appeared more comfortable in front of others, whether they were teammates or not,” Moore said. “Through skits, bonfire stories and team challenges, people visibly became more comfortable around the other participants. It was evident that everyone came out with a number of new friends.”
Levine echoed that being a part of LDP is a great way to make new friends and try new things. Markulic confirmed LDP’s mission by saying, “We make people comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
As Moore said, “Truthfully, we’re just one big quasi-functional family who loves making fools of ourselves in front of each other.”