LeaderShape Institute Part 1

LeaderShape is a six-day institute to learn and get inspired about being a leader through different types of sessions. These are my experiences throughout the week. 

Day 1: Mind blown

Another UIC student and I drove down to Urbana-Champaign for the retreat place in the afternoon. Once we were there we met with the whole community and then divided into “family clusters” of no more than 10 people per cluster. 

Highlight: Meeting people from all over the nation and learning about them.

Unexpected event: People sharing about their personal life in detail even though we have known them for no more than couple of hours.

Day 2: Once in a lifetime experience

In the morning, the community was divided into different groups for obstacle courses. Each obstacle course consisted of background story and the end mini talk about experiences of the obstacle course. Afternoon and evening consisted of talk about emotional intelligence, identity, discrimination and prejudice between community and family clusters. 

Highlight: The Tarzan obstacle course. The background story was that we were on an island where all the scientists found a unique potion that will save thousands of lives and we have only 20 minutes before the island explodes. The only way to get to the “other side” is to use the swing like the Tarzan. The potion did not have any lid so that was another challenge we had to figure out to finish the challenge.

Unexpected event: During registration on the first day we had to make a mailbox with a paper bag and all the participants mailboxes were put up on a billboard. I thought I would never use it but by the end of day two, I already started writing some letters to talk about any problems, apologies or appreciations of other students.

Day 3: Visions

The whole day revolved around the idea of visions. We did some activities that consisted of teamwork to learn about what a vision is. At the end of the day we created a vision that we are passionate about to share it with the community.   

Highlight: Writing our big vision ideas on a big paper and posting it up for everyone to see and comment on other peers’ visions.

Unexpected event: How welcoming people can be in a “competitive” volleyball game even though they know you are not that strong. The encouragement was amazing and definitely gave me the confidence to continue playing.


Continued in LeaderShape Part 2…