In Our August, 2017 Issue:

Students take the lead rope at leadership retreat

Metro State students can choose their own adventure on high-ropes course offered at the Transformational Leadership Retreat, Aug. 18 to 20.

It’s not about get­ting to the top. It’s about set­ting a goal for your­self and hav­ing a team to cheer you on and give you advice,” said Phil Fuehrer, the Interim Direc­tor of Stu­dent Lead­er­ship Devel­op­ment. “It’s about reach­ing that goal and celebrating.”

Fuehrer was speak­ing about climb­ing the high-​ropes course at Metro State’s annual Trans­for­ma­tional Lead­er­ship Retreat. But his words apply equally to the aims of the retreat itself.

As Metro State read­ies for the fall semes­ter, 60 stu­dents will make their way to lakeshore cab­ins in the woods. The 2017 retreat takes place Aug. 18 to 20 at Camp Courage.

Train­ing, lodg­ing, food and trans­porta­tion are all pro­vided and free for stu­dents. Par­tic­i­pants can ride a motor­coach bus to the retreat. “It’s a good dis­tance away from cam­pus,” Fuehrer said. “When there is too much time on the road, there is less time for work­shops and down­time.” Camp Courage is located in Maple Lake, about an hour’s drive from the St. Paul campus

Many lead­ers of Metro State clubs and orga­ni­za­tions will attend the retreat. New stu­dents can use the retreat to make friends and learn about stu­dent orga­ni­za­tions and oppor­tu­ni­ties on cam­pus. “It ener­gizes these atten­dees to become lead­ers after the retreat,” Fuehrer said

Work­shops will teach stu­dents cre­ative learn­ing strate­gies, goal set­ting, lead­er­ship and com­mu­nity engage­ment skills.

Anh Tran, a 20162017 Stu­dent Sen­ate mem­ber, attended last year’s retreat. She appre­ci­ated the pre­sen­ta­tion “Brag about it: How to express stu­dent lead­er­ship on your resume,” given by Alysia Lajune, Metro State’s Stu­dent Life and Lead­er­ship Devel­op­ment Coor­di­na­tor. Tran val­ued Lajune’s tips and sug­ges­tions for job searches and career development

Tran also remem­bered last year’s keynote speaker, Dr. Jer­maine M. Davis. “He is very fun and down to earth. He is engag­ing and ener­getic,” she said.

Fuehrer said Davis was “very well received” last year and they have asked him to speak again and lead an addi­tional work­shop this year. Davis teaches in the Com­mu­ni­ca­tions depart­ment at Cen­tury Col­lege and in Orga­ni­za­tional Lead­er­ship at St. Cather­ine Uni­ver­sity. He is the author of “Get Up Off Your Butt & Do It Now! Stay­ing Moti­vated Even When You Don’t Feel Like It.”

Stu­dents will have ample time for fun activ­i­ties like camp­fires, swim­ming, bas­ket­ball, movies and games. “We are pur­pose­ful in build­ing in down­time,” said Fuehrer. “The retreats have evolved from cram­ming too many work­shops together. Peo­ple need time to process and inter­act socially.

Besides attend­ing work­shops, Tran enjoyed canoe­ing, bik­ing and karaōke. Her expe­ri­ence at last year’s retreat was “fun and informative.”

Reg­is­tra­tion is lim­ited to 60 stu­dents enrolled in fall classes. This restric­tion is also by design. Accord­ing to Fuehrer, the larger num­bers “defeated the pur­pose” by caus­ing cliques to form and iso­lat­ing some stu­dents. “50 to 60 seems opti­mal so every­one ben­e­fits and stays engaged,” he said.

The retreat’s most chal­leng­ing activ­ity is the high-​ropes course at nearby Camp Friend­ship. Par­tic­i­pants will use ropes to climb heights as high as 35 feet

Every­one is encour­aged to par­tic­i­pate in the ropes course, but it is not required. The course offers vary­ing lev­els of climb­ing dif­fi­culty, with Giant’s Lad­der as one of the most challenging.

Fuehrer remem­bers well his expe­ri­ence climb­ing. He was phys­i­cally exhausted and ready to give up. But with the sup­port of peo­ple on the ground and his climb­ing part­ner, Fuehrer made it to the top. “That’s an exhil­a­rat­ing expe­ri­ence,” he said, “You can’t always solve a prob­lem by your­self. You need to work with oth­ers to accom­plish a goal.

For Fuehrer, the ropes course is the best part of the retreat. “But the entire week­end is one great pack­age. It’s a great kick­off for the semester.

Stu­dents can reg­is­ter for the retreat on OrgSync. For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact Phil Fuehrer at philip.​fuehrer@​metrostate.​edu or 6517931550