As freshmen in the Leadership Advancement Scholar cohort, we are individually assigned mentors from the sophomore cohort. Towards the end of summer each year, the group of freshmen and sophomores who are paired as mentees and mentors travel to Eagle Village for a weekend to experience bonding techniques in extensive and risk-taking situations.
Eagle Village is a rehabilitation facility for troubled teens and foster children to stay for short to extended periods of time. This facility also provides family focused matters, along with trauma care. In addition to all that Eagle Village does to give back, it is also a place for a camp and retreat center which is where LAS focuses their time and energy in annually.
Throughout the weekend, pairs of mentees and mentors breaks off into groups of about 16 and are given many types of activities that help positively alter group cooperation skills and abilities to speak up and stand down in group settings. Both LAS cohorts were also required to complete a high ropes course either indoors or outdoors. My group had the opportunity to take advantage of the sunny Sunday morning at the outdoor course. In the middle of the woods an intricate 50-foot obstacle course stood before me. Being hung from a harnest and a rope while balancing on logs, rock climbing, monkey-swinging, and bridge crossing, my mentor and I got put to a personal test on just how well we could trust each other. I would have to say that we passed pretty well!
Outdoor High Ropes Course
Aside from structured activities, mentees and mentors were given the opportunity to bond on a personal level through a variety of ways to spend their free time. From volleyball, basketball, swimming, rock climbing, swing climbing, and canoeing, us mentees and mentors had more than enough opportunities to bond over leisurely activities as well.
To close our last night together at the retreat, we gathered around an oversized bonfire to roast marshmellows and tell stories of our experiences. We were also each given the opportunity to share with one another what we love about each other loud and proud. This was a truly heart touching experience in it’s own.
Overall, the Leadership Advancement Scholar Mentee/Mentor Retreat 2016 was a success to say the least and definetly pushed the limits of both mentees and mentors to communicate and be courageous in a variety of different ways in order to reach one common goal, and that is to connect.
(P.S. If you want to see for yourself what LAS did this weekend, check out this awesome video made by Riley Brussel to display this awesome experience!! LAS Mentee/Mentor Retreat Video