MACURH 2011 STUDENT AWARD FOR LEADERSHIP TRAINING
Leaders Today Legends Tomorrow Camp Friendship Courtney Downing, Chris Trankel, and Allen Berg Saint Cloud State University
Table of Contents
A long time ago it was said that the gods walked amongst mankind and loved all that was mankind. Mortals would have the children of the gods, and the gods would have children of the mortals. They then left the world and took their rightful place upon Olympus. However, now gods have returned, and so has everything they brought before. The following is an account of what happened the weekend their children were all gathered under the same roof...
Camp Friendship: Leaders Today, Legends Tomorrow was an off campus Community Council retreat sponsored by Residential Life, the Residence Hall Association, and the National Residence Hall Honorary. It was a leadership experience provided to students who started off their year of school by getting involved within their residence halls’ Community Councils. From the afternoon of September 16th to the night of September 17th, new and old student leaders were emerged in a leadership experience unlike any other.
The expectations of the gods: The main goals and objectives of Camp Friendship were: to inform student leaders of their roles within Community Council, network with other halls’ Community Councils, become a team as a Community Council, to enhance each individual’s leadership skills, and, most importantly, to have fun growing as a student leader. At the Community Council retreat, Camp Friendship, student leaders from the residence halls were given an opportunity to learn what exactly what was required of their positions on Community Council. At the end of Friday night the students went to positional breakout meetings where they got to know what their position entailed. These meetings were hosted by the RHA Executive Board member who held the position that was either the same as, or similar to, their position in the residence hall. They also met the other people in their same position in the other halls. The break out session provided ample time for developing a
network of presidents, vice presidents, programming chairs, etc. However, the breakout sessions were not the only opportunities these students had for networking. They were also given time at the campfire Friday night, all of their meals, and during sessions that took place on Saturdays. The students used this time to their advantage by participating in games with one another, discussing their positions, and just hanging out with people they did not know. The camp setting also had halls rooming with different halls so the sleeping arrangement itself provided people with the opportunities to get to know one another. Those who attended the Community Council retreat also participated in team builders on Saturday morning. These team builders built a community with the Community Councils, while challenging all the members of the group to work together and open up with one another. Team builders ranged from as outrageous as getting a team to transfer a ball in to a bucket only using strings while not moving to as in-depth and personal drawing a house based on their core values. Team builders were essential in developing the students as a cohesive unit, and provide them with the knowledge of how each individual works under pressure and in new situations. The entire weekend showcased the students. They were rewarded and recognized for being stand-out leaders and while going above and beyond what was expected by the facilitators. There were awards given out at the end of the retreat to outstanding leaders, as well as snaps given out during the weekend that were read 3
by the NRHH President. Recognition also continued after the weekend was over at the weekly RHA General Body Meeting where a formal award ceremony was held. The most crucial part of the Community Council Retreat was the whole reason why the retreat was created: Leadership.
The needs of the demigods: There was a pre evaluation before we went to Camp Friendship that all the attending Community Council Executive Board had to fill out. This evaluation asked what top three skills they would like to develop from this retreat. The top three skills executive board members wanted to develop were: stress tolerance and management skills, delegating skills, and planning and organizing skills. The evaluation also asked what their primary reason for going on the retreat was. The evaluation showed that they wanted to get to know people, and become a Community Advisor (aka Resident Assistant). The sessions were centered specifically on these results. The stress tolerance and management skills had four sessions that an executive board member could attend during the session break out time. One session was called “Time Management and Balance” at this session they would take a self-assessment quiz to see how well they balance time. They learned from this session that if they learn how to balance times that they can help reduce their stress level. Another session for stress management was called “Sleeping with Phillip.” This session had to deal with relaxing and making sure to get enough sleep. 4
Students brought their pillows and lead through on how to relax and deal with stress. There were three sessions centered on planning and organizing skills. These sessions were lead by the Programming Communication Coordinator and the advisor for the PCC as well. One program that was put on was “What’s HOT and what’s not.” Every semester a residence hall has to put on a hall wide event called “What’s Happening on Thursday.” These events require a lot of time and planning for student to do. This session went over the basics of the event as how to spend money cost effectively, publicity and popular events from the past. This session helped on how to plan the specifics of an event like this and also how to delegate duties to different members. The other session that gave a different perspective on how to organize an event is diversity programming. This session was created to help students organize and create an event that had a more cultural diverse side. Delegating skills were important to all community council executive board members because it helped them understand how to get tasks done and relieve stress for all those participating. There was one session that was specific to this otherwise other sessions hit on this skill as far as working together to get complete a task. Community Council as Saint Cloud State University is considered a stepping-stone to becoming an RHA Executive Board member or a Community Advisor. We had a session that focused on getting to the next step for those who attended. This was lead by the vice president of RHA and a Community Advisor who also the Vice President of NRHH. These two leaders have been a part of these organizations for three years.
Getting to know each other and networking was important for Community Council Executives. All of the sessions had a variety of topics and just by attending one of the sessions they met people from the different residence halls.
How the demigods achieved godlike status: The planning started over the summer with Saint Cloud State University’s Residential Life summer intern, Chuck Petranek. Chuck’s main task over the summer was the Community Council retreat at Camp Friendship. He worked on creating facilitation packets for all the student and staff facilitators. He set up manuals as well as compiled all the resources used before, after, and during the retreat by the facilitators. Chuck also took the lead by budgeting for the entire experience. The total cost for the weekend was $6,409.28. The Department of Residential Life funded the funding for this whole retreat weekend. There was a use of sporting equipment and markers from the halls as well as the supplies that were bought. The supplies used for this weekend were for the spirit chair, campfire chair, and team builder chair. Such supplies were used for recognition, fun, bonding and building a Community Council Executive Board. The RHA Executive Board and NRHH Executive Board gathered together in the middle of August to begin the campaign for Community Council and the retreat. There were seven chairs for this planning committee; the chairs were spirit, session/facilities, registration, marketing, team builders, camp fire/supplies,
and evaluation assessments. Each one of the Executive Board members was one of the chairs and had a Hall Director be their advisor. The NRHH President headed Spirit/recognition. She created a snap box to recognize the leaders for recognizing them at the retreat. She also did a couple ice breakers to get the retreat started with as well. She also came up with the theme of the retreat, which was Leaders Today Legends Tomorrow. She came up with this theme because each Greek God has a strength and weakness. The leader that came to this retreat had strengths and weaknesses and after the retreat they helped overcome their weakness. So in order to keep this theme she created bandanas with each halls Greek god on it for them to wear the whole retreat. The Programming Communication Coordinator headed sessions/facilitates. He created the four sessions for each time slot and his advisor did an advisor track for the advisor attending the retreat as well. The session/facilities chair found presenters for each session and also made sure that the presenters had a room and supplies that needed. He also presented on three sessions himself. The President of RHA headed Campfire/Supplies. His main job for this was to collect lists from all the other chairs on supplies they needed, create a shopping list and then going shopping for the
supplies. His other duty was to build the campfire and come up with activities to do that evening. He also planned ghost stories and for music to be played by the fire. The Vice President of RHA headed Team Builders. Her main job was to come up and create the rules for 8 team builders. The team builders were lead by all the Executive Board members and an advisor. Each hall was in their council group and went station to station doing different team builders. Each builder had a different lesson to learn by doing it. Some of the lessons were trust, becoming a leader, communicating effectively, time management and others. The Finance Chair of RHA headed Marketing. All of her stuff was done pre retreat. She created door decorations for all the executive board members to remind them of the date and to register. She also worked on reminding people by word of mouth as well. The Membership Recruitment and Retention chair headed the evaluation and assessments. She created the surveys and assessments for the ending of the retreat and each session. This information will be used to help better the retreat for next year and also what they learned and got form the retreat. The biggest thing is if this was beneficial for them. It also helps the session presenters how they did and how they could improve for next time. The Vice President of NRHH headed the registration for the retreat. This was one of the most crucial things for the retreat to happen. She sent all the halls’ community
council the forms to fill out. She also sent out notifications to the have them sign-up. She organized all the information as far as how many from each hall is coming and even dietary issues to be aware of, or medical things. Once all these chairs were in place they got started on promoting the event to its fullest potential. They went to every hall’s community council in the first couple weeks of school, and also discussed the Community Council retreat at RHA General Body. There was also a professional staff and RHA/NRHH Executive Board brunch before the trip began. They discussed goals and what they hoped to see during the retreat the upcoming weekend.
God and Goddess Training: The Friday of Camp Friendship came around fast and before they knew it they were loading the buses. Students were required to be at a designated loading spot about a half hour before departure. Students boarded the buses uncertain of what was going to come next. As they arrived at Camp Friendship they were quickly thrown in to a team builder where they found out which god was their “parent.” Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Athena, Ares, Artemis, Apollo, and Aphrodite were the gods and goddesses selected for the weekend. The students got a brief overview on the strengths and weaknesses of their gods and then raced off to their cabins to find out what sleeping arrangements would be like. The weekend continued with dinner and opening ceremonies. Everyone introduced themselves, their positions, and what hall they were from. It then continued with learning new cheers including MACURH’s favorite, “Reese’s Pieces.”
Students were made aware of the rules and expectations of the weekend. It was a “challenge by choice” experience, in which people were only asked to go as far as they felt comfortable, but were encouraged to challenge themselves as much as they could. The student leaders where later sent off to positional meetings which were followed by a bonfire and free time. The free time incorporated a campfire as well as night games such as “Star-tripping,” “Sardines,” and Saint Cloud’s own “Werewolves.” This time provided students with different ways to meet people and many opportunities to just have fun and let loose after spending hours inside. As they went to bed, students could never have imagined what they would face the next day. Students woke up and went to breakfast to hear snaps written the previous day. As they left breakfast they found themselves at the main hall getting ready for team builders. There were eight team building stations that students went to in a rotation with their halls. Some were physical challenges while others were mental and sometimes emotional challenges. Because of these team builders, students were no longer were individuals on a community council in a residence hall, but rather members of a unit that had a voice and hall pride. From team builders they went to lunch and had free time to clean out their cabins and pack to go home. After free time they went to programming sessions, much like those one would see at a regional conference like MACURH, or a national conference like NACURH. These were geared towards students and what they needed as upcoming leaders. They ranged from learning how to run effective meetings, to learning how to use the most
valuable resource afforded to them: time. As dinner came around students felt the approaching departure and many asked if there was any way they could stay for one more day. Some students even asked if there was going to
Do we really have to go home now?
be another one during the semester. When dinner ended they went to the main hall for what would be the last time of the experience. The last of the snaps were read off, and awards were given out. Following the mini award ceremony, students listened to keynote speakers who were two hall directors from Saint Cloud State
University. Some students began to cry as the weekend came to a close, but all were grateful for the experience they had received. When they boarded the buses to return home they turned in a post-evaluation. The following are the results: To the left you can see the two different results from the pre-evaluation and postevaluation. These results came from students ranking their different skills on a 1-5 scale, 1 is need improvement and 5 are perfect. One can see that before the retreat the average was in the three ranges and after the retreat there was an improvement in their skills in every 11 11
category. Each person who attended this retreat had to fill out a pre-retreat evaluation and before they got on the bus had to fill out a post-evaluation. There were many questions asked and surveys to get a better understanding of how this retreat benefited residents and what they wanted from it. A total of 56 evaluation forms were turned in. One question asked was would you attend this retreat again and 100% of the people said yes. These two charts show what top five skills they wanted to learn and what they learned. The first column is what skill, the second column is frequency and the last one is the percent. The pre evaluation was used to help form the sessions for the retreat. The post evaluation shows that the top skills that people wanted to learn they actually did. The retreat post evaluation shows that it was success on helping learn these skills. To the left are the post-evaluation results on the overall experience for the residents who attended the retreat. The scale is a 15 scale, 1 being poor and 5 being very good. Everything was above a for except meals. So the students who attended this retreat thought it was good overall, some even state in comments later that the experience was legendary.
Lastly there is the budget for the experience. The entire budget came from the Department of Residential Life at Saint Cloud State University. It was used to its fullest potential and costs were cut in as many areas as possible. The chairs that used the budget were the Spirit, Campfire, and Team Builder Chairs. The chart to the right is a breakdown of where the money went and the grand total of the experience at Camp Friendship.
Proclamation from a Son of Apollo:
As a freshman at Saint Cloud State University (SCSU) I did not know too many people that lived in my residence hall. My Community Advisor welcomed me to campus and that same night I moved in he encouraged me to apply for something called Community Council. Not knowing what Community Council was I showed up to the first informational meeting and found that it was an organization I really wanted to be a part of. I ran for the Vice President of community council and won. The following day I received Information to attend a retreat at Camp Friendship. At the retreat my Hall Community Council executive board members and I were able to meet other students from other halls in our same position. We were told to break into groups according to our executive board positions. In the Vice President group we discussed what we believe are our specific duties and responsibilities and made a constitution to hold ourselves to them. Each member discussed the reasons why they wanted these specific rules and as
a whole voted upon them. After each positional meeting was completed, Community Councils then bonded over a bonfire by telling stories and roasting marshmallows. All the members at the retreat played games, discussed events on campus, and got to know each other. I, personally, got to know at least one person from each of the ten residence halls. The next day was the team building activities. Each hall’s Community Council Executive Board formed a team and was challenged in physical, creative, and critical thinking tasks. These tasks were meant to show our executive board what each other’s strengths and weaknesses were so we could adapt to each other and provide a strong working team. Each task helped us step outside of our comfort zone usually this would not have happened if we were on campus. Going off campus brought each of us out of our comfort zones and made everyone on the same comfort level. As the day progressed we got to know our fellow leaders from campus and developed close relationships. After the retreat, to keep the community council spirit high from the retreat community councils created Facebook groups for their hall and a general one for everyone to stay connected and share ideas with each other. As a result of the Facebook groups, halls immediately started forming ideas . Each residence hall every semester hosts a campus wide event called What’s HOT (What’s Happening On Thursdays). This event is to provide an alternative option to drinking. This event is a safe and fun
environment for all campus residents. With the use of Facebook pages and groups, each hall was able to spread the word about their event throughout campus and receive comments or questions that helped their event come together more smoothly and become a better success. This also helped the lines of communication between the different residence halls across campus to keep up with what other halls were doing. Camp Friendship brought together newly elected residents and transformed them into student leaders. The retreat taught Community Council Executive Board Members the skills needed to effectively lead their residence halls to success. Skills taught at the retreat were skills that could be brought back to SCSU campus and used in everyday situations. The Community Council retreat gave a new light to the student leaders of SCSU, we may be student leaders today, but someday soon we could become legends.
-Allen Berg, Mitchell Hall Vice President
What is to be written amongst the stars: Turning the weekend in to a single program would be
very difficult; however, it would not be impossible. The one thing that everyone learned before, during, and after the retreat was how to delegate. Often times, student leaders try to take on as much as they possibly can, and do not know their boundaries. This proves itself time and time again, especially amongst first year students. Put delegates in to situations that would come up in their everyday duties as student leaders. We would then ask them to then go through and sort the situations as a team into three main piles: Do, Dump, or Delegate. The material is based on short term, urgent and long term issues and the delegates will determine where each situation goes. None of this information should be dealt with by the senior executive seeing as it is their job to delegate the information. Situations: - Your hall wants a bike garage for the winter months. The current date is September 12th. - One of your executive board members received a minor. Policy states that your executive board must vote on whether they should be impeached or not. - You are running low on your budget and you have a huge event planned that will use your resources. - A member of your executive board resigns. - A sponsor for an event backs out at the last minute. - Someone in your community council wants to make another executive board position, yet your constitution only allows the amount you already have. - Community Council wants to meet at a different time and date.
Each situation would be on a sheet of paper, but other than that there would not be any other resources used, electronic or otherwise. Thank you for your consideration of our bid!