On September 10th, 2016 I experienced something great with even better people. What I am talking about is the Mentor/Mentee retreat. As a program requirement for LDR100, my cohort of 50 boarded a bus with our 50 mentors and took a road trip. Our trip was to a place called Eagle Village, and at the time I had no idea what I was getting myself into. What I was getting myself was one of the best experiences of my life, and this weekend proved to exceed all expectations. It all started on the bus ride : we connected with our mentors, told stories, and sang songs. We all knew what the weekend held in store. SOMETHING AWESOME. I was so excited to spend time with my mentor, Dalton Sutherland. He and I were in store for a wonderful weekend.
We got off the bus and got our dorms ready to sleep in. After this we quickly got ready for our first activity which included sharing our “About me maps” that we did the weeks prior. On our maps were our stories of life: the good, the bad, and the ugly. During this time many emotions were flying around some got uncomfortable. As leaders, we knew we had to share these experiences with each other, and these experiences made us stronger as individuals and strengthened our groups as well.
Next, my group went to a room where we discussed our expectations for the weekend with the staff of Eagle Village. The hosts explained to us that it was it was a sacred space and it was okay to be our true selves at the retreat. We were excited as a group to take on the whole weekend together whole heartedly.
Our first group activity took place on the high ropes course. Mentor/Mentee combos went up into the course together and had to conquer the course together. I hated heights and so did Dalton. When it was our time to enter the course we both looked at each other and knew what we had to do. Be the best duo we could and tackle the course head on. Dalton and I hurried up the ladder and completely killed the high ropes course together. If it was not for Dalton I would not have even climbed up the ladder. During this activity I truly realized how important it is to have someone there for you when you need it. Dalton and I were both scared, yet we were able to conquer our fears by going through the ropes course together.
The night continued with basketball and volleyball where were able to connect with other mentor/mentee pairs on the trip. Large groups came together to play competitive sports and the competition made the events fun. This was a very sociable experience for everyone involved and this created a very fun night for everyone.
That night we had a group bonfire and had an open discussion and shoutout session to everyone in the cohort which was a very cool experience. Everyone bonded completely over the bonfire and everyone ended the night with s’mores and smiles.
As a cohort we all slept on the floor of the lobby that night and sang songs all night.
The next day involved another team challenge course. We were required to carry a sled full of balls through a log course without touching the ground or letting go of the rope attached. This challenge made us work together and also made some people frustrated. It was a challenge for all students to remain calm, and this added to the intensity of the exercise. We learned that we either going to win as a team or lose as a team, there was no other way around it.
The wonderful weekend was over as we boarded the busses and headed back to Mt. P. Mentor/Mentee combos fell asleep on each other while listening to cheesy 90’s music. After a long and near restless weekend, all participants had a wonderful times, the mentor/mentee retreat created smiles for miles.
After this experience, Ive come to realize how lucky I am to have an active mentor in my life. Dalton has been the go to guy for me when Ive needed help with anything, and I am lucky and blessed to call him my mentor.