Students learn leadership skills at retreat

During Reading Week, 55 York student leaders honed their leadership skills at a three-day retreat organized by the University’s centre for Student Community & Leadership Development.

Above: Students piled into two school buses for the journey to the Orillia retreat

Students from every Faculty and every level participated in outdoor adventure activities and team-building exercises at the Geneva Park retreat in Orillia. They heard speakers, solved problems as groups and did exercises to learn how to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). During free time, students went snowshoeing, competed in a ping pong tournament, performed karaoke and took part in meditation and yoga sessions.

In e-mail comments sent in afterwards, students called the retreat awesome. "I know that we may have all come to that retreat as individuals, but I know we can all agree that we left as one family," wrote one participant. Another wrote, "I felt everyone had amazing energy and was very motivated to see so many dedicated York friends."

Left: Winter activities build team spirit

Students formed teams during the retreat that are continuing to meet to brainstorm, draft and propose recommendations for enhancing student leadership development for all York students. They also formed an online community using Facebook and have posted more than 600 photos taken at retreat.

Retreat participants have also mounted a letter-writing campaign to thank Patricia Cheuk, administrative officer, Student Community Development, in whose honour the retreat was named.

Five staff members, including Frank Cappadocia, director of Student Community & Leadership Development, took part in the retreat.