Students come out for Spring Leadership Retreat sign-up

by Angela Niesz

Students registered for the 2011 Spring Leadership Retreat that will be held at the Holiday Inn on the northwest side of Des Moines, sign-up ended yesterday for the Feb. 4 – 5 event.

The retreat is free for students.

Bobby Nalean, leadership and service coordinator for Center for Vocation and Integrative Learning, said there is a reason why Simpson pays for students to attend.

“There’s funding through the student development budget, and developing student leaders is a priority,” Nalean said. “It really aligns well with the mission of the college, so the college supports things like this for that reason.”

Students attending will be provided with transportation and meals.

“Transportation is provided and all meals are covered,” Nalean said.”So there’s absolutely no cost to students.”

The retreat’s purpose is to help students get to know themselves better.

“The theme of the retreat is personal identity development,” Nalean said. “So we do a lot with goal setting, helping students identify their skills, their leadership style and their passion.”

Sophomore Lindsay Nash attended the retreat last year and is lending a hand with planning this time around.

“It was really exciting for me, and (I liked) the group activities that we did,” Nash said. “Working with other people in a group was really fun.”

Aside from the fun, students had to apply their critical thinking skills when it was time to get serious.

“We did some actual deep things where we sat down and thought about what we wanted out of life and what our strengths and goals were,” Nash said. “Then we really thought deeply about what our passions, which is something you don’t do on a normal basis.”

Nash also thinks attending the retreat is also a way to make new connections.

“Not only did I just meet more Simpson students, but (I met) those professors that are here to help us and the alumni,” Nash said. “There are people that want to help us, but it’s just making the effort to get to those people.”

According to Nalean, about 40 students attended two years ago and around 60 students attended last year.

He expects to see more students attend this year.

“We could see continued growth but in that range,” Nalean said.

Jennifer del Pino, director of career services, provided sample questions as to what students who attend the 2011 Spring Leadership Retreat will be asked at some point.

“Where do you really want to focus not only your career but your life?,” del Pino said. “And how can you make a difference in your community?”

The retreat will last for approximately 24 hours.

“It’s a 24 hour experience basically,” Nalean said. “We leave Simpson at 3:15 p.m. on Friday and get back around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.”

del Pino encourages students to attend the retreat, and she will be there herself coordinating some of the workshops on Friday night.

“There is a leader in all of us,” del Pino said. “It doesn’t matter what your personality type is. It doesn’t matter what you’re involved in at school, but coming to something like this will kind of help you identify what leadership skills you have that maybe you didn’t know you had.”