The Ropes Course was High, but Our Energy was Higher

As the buses rolled up bright and early, the entire Barnes Hall lobby was filled with tired eyes, but bright and energetic souls. All the freshmen in the 2015 LAS cohort quickly found their mentors, strapped on our fanny pants, and began to awe over the weekend ahead. As we arrived to Eagle Village and went over the ground rules of the site, we dove right into some challenging leadership activities. Everyone and their mentors were assigned to a small home group with about eight or nine other mentor/mentee pairs. My group and I first headed over to an outdoor wide-scale obstacle course, and my was this hard. All twenty or so of us had to carry a little tub of plastic balls and foam cubes through each obstacle—but everyone had to be touching the tub or a rope clipped to a tub. Although this was challenging, it brought out everyone’s leadership style and helped us bond as a group so that we could be successful in the end, which we were.

As the day carried on and more activities challenged not only the way we think but how we act, the night bonfire was something I might not ever forget. Two cohorts formed one large family around this bonfire and emotions were high as many opened up about themselves. This bonding moment was something completely different and wonderful all on it’s own.

The high ropes course was Sunday morning and boy did it have me feeling some type of way. As me myself am afraid of heights, I did not think this whole “strap yourself in with a harness and climb around obstacles in the air” thing would work out. Oh how wrong I was. Once I climbed up the ladder to reach the first obstacle I felt such a surge of adrenaline and empowerment—I could actually do this. Through the support of the fellow LASers on the course with me, I felt so unbelievably great and conquered one of my biggest fears. I cannot wait until I get a little mentee of my own and am able to help guide them through the many obstacles, not only at Eagle Village, but in life.

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Lions, and Tigers, and Penguins, Oh My!

As I was walking through the large glass doors of the UC on move in day I was greeted by multiple people dressed as if they were on a great African Safari Trip. The energy was high and the smiles were wide while I gathered all my essential Safari belongings from the large tables. I was quickly named a Penguin, or as my guide called us, “Particiguins”.IMG_4362For the readers who don’t know, Leadership Safari is a large, week-long leadership conference for all of Central Michigan’s incoming freshmen and transfer students. Everyone is put into a home group of about ten people and each group is named after an animal. I swear to it; by the end of the week you’re guaranteed to find some of your best friends. There are inspirational and motivational speakers from all over, the energy is unbelievably high, you break everything you’ve ever known about trust, and by the end of the week you could have reinvented yourself completely, like I did.

A little disclaimer: I have oddly attended multiple leadership camps, conferences and workshops. Weird coming from an LAS scholar, right? Well after attending more leadership gatherings than I can count, I can quite honestly say that Leadership Safari was by far one of my favorite leadership oriented conferences I have been too. I got to meet countless incoming freshmen who were in the exact same lost, confused, and awkward stage I was in. We broke out of our comfort zones, became emotionally connected to our home groups, and by the end of the week we were pros at finding our way around campus. Leadership Safari is exactly what it says, a true leadership adventure.

I took the knowledge I gained through this phenomenal experience and applied it to my leadership style and how I go about my daily life. I took the positivity from those surrounding me at the conference and now shed that light onto everyone I meet. I learned how to manage my time and stress and keep my grades in check. I truly feel that Leadership Safari made me a better person, student, and friend. I owe all my progress to CMU and all their wonderful leadership and life opportunities they have given me.