Since the Leadership Advancement Scholarship program’s birth, Eagle Village has been the destination for retreat weekend. Members of the freshman and sophomore class have the opportunity to go away for the weekend to work on strengthening their bond with one another, and enhance their leadership skills. What is really unique about the Leadership Advancement Scholarship program (LAS for short), is that every incoming freshman gets matched up with a member of the sophomore class to consider their mentor. It is common for mentors and mentees to become lifelong friends because of the one year age gap.

During the retreat, I grew close with img_5132my mentor, Lianna through a variety of team building activities. The most challenging and rewarding activity of the weekend though, was accomplishing the Giant’s Latter together.

Just take a moment to visualize an oversized latter made of wooden beams and sturdy rope extending all the way to the top of the ceiling, and as progression takes place on the latter, the beams get farther and farther apart. The only way to successfully complete this task is with a partner, so you can imagine that Lianna and I had to quickly put all of our faith in one another. As the two of us progressed on the latter, it felt as though our relationship was getting stronger. When we finally reached the top, I can just remember looking at her with the biggest grin, astounded that we had accomplished such a daunting task.

From this experience, I learned that working with another person can make a challenging task seem less intimidating. Forming a partnership gives a person the opportunity to accomplish more than they would independently. Focussing on the task as a unit made it easier to come up with a solution for the task.

Another highlight of the trip was getting to know my own cohort, the 2016 Leadership Advancement Scholars, a little better. Being around all new people left me feeling rather lonely during the first few weeks at Central. I would describe myself as an introverted person, so it is harder for me to open up when I initially meet new people. Being in a cohort with so many people who seem to be very outgoing, makes it even more difficult for me to make close connections with people around me. I had a great experience at Eagle Village because it gave me a chance to interact with my fellow classmates in a much more laid back setting. I feel so much closer with everyone since attending the retreat, and I feel so much more at ease with the idea of spending the next four years with these incredible people.

After leaving the retreat, I feel so much more enthusiastic about my future at Central Michigan University. During this last month at school, I have not felt like myself because of the toll loneliness has had on my mental well-being. Finally feeling as though I have people around who are accepting and care about me as an individual, makes me want to wake up in the morning with a smile on my face every day. Eagle Village has helped me realize something that I did not want to admit before; Central Michigan is where I belong.

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