Mentorship and the Mentor/Mentee Retreat 2014

As a recipient of the Leader Advancement Scholarship, it is tradition that a member of the Freshman class receives their own Mentor who is currently a sophomore in the Leader Advancement Scholar program (LAS). The purpose of the mentor in this program is to help out their mentee(s) adapt to the college experience, for they were freshman last year and know how the system works. Our mentors are always there for you for advice and sometimes, you are there for advice for them as well.

Ryan Willis

Meet this goofball. His name is Ryan. He is my mentor. Ryan Willis, I don’t really refer to him as my mentor, I refer to him as a really close friend. When I first met him as my mentor, he described to me that he doesn’t want to be a “Mentor”, but a friend there for me when I need help and I would be a friend for him when he needs help. I have learned so much from Ryan as my mentor because in my opinion, mentorship is not about being “above” their mentee, but setting an example of how to live to effectively make our world a better place. My first night of college after Leadership Safari, I was expecting to go back to Barnes Hall to go to bed and prepare for my first day of classes. I’m so glad that didn’t happen. I got a phone call at midnight from Ryan saying, “Hey! I’m outside Barnes. Grab a swimsuit and we are going on an adventure!” I head to his car with my big, David, from CVFC (College Volunteer Facilitators Corps) and we drive downtown to Island Park. David is also a sophomore member of LAS but acts as a mentor in a different organization we are both part of. Of course, I have been in Mount Pleasant for 5 days and I have no idea where we are. We walk around this park and end up at this bridge that is above the Chippewa River. Ryan then grabs onto the other side of the bridge to a point where he is just dangling. David says, “We aren’t jumping are we?”. Ryan responds with “Of course we are!”. I was so scared. I look down the bridge to about a 15 foot drop to the water which I could barley see. When I saw David say that he was in, I had no choice but to follow. “There is no way that I am going to watch my Big and my Mentor jump off this bridge without me.” I thought with confidence. I go over to the other side and I say “We jump on 3…. 3…. 2…. 1….” I closed my eyes and just jumped. Ryan and I both fall and pop up above the water to see that David didn’t jump. Ryan and I were so pumped that we went to go do it again hoping that David would come with us. This time we all jumped and had an amazing time. This was quite the adventure for my first night in college. I do feel like I did become closer with Ryan that night.

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The next day, Ryan took me over to his mentor’s apartment to meet the rest of the “family”. I met Ryan’s mentor Rachel, Rachel’s mentor Courtney, Courtney’s mentor Veronica, and Veronica’s mentor Nate. This was our LAS family tree. We got to talk and I luckily got to meet some pretty awesome people, two that have already graduated from the LAS program. I can’t believe how much LAS changed their lives and the importance to live in the moment, because once it is over, it is over. They all had story’s like my story of bridge jumping the night before. They did tell me however, that one of my favorite memories that I will make will be at the LAS mentor/mentee retreat.

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(My LAS Family Tree. Picture from left: Nate (GGGG Mentor), Veronica (GGG Mentor), Courtney (GG Mentor), Rachel (G Mentor), Ryan (Mentor), and Evan (Myself/Future Mentor)) The Mentor/Mentee Retreat is finally here. The night before I hung out with my family tree and had a good time. The day after, Ryan, myself, and the rest of the Freshman and Sophomore classes of LAS were on their way to Eagle Village for two days of bonding and leadership activities. When we arrived, we were separated into different groups of mentor/mentee pairs. We did different team building leadership activities and a rope coarse throughout the two days. I feel that I have already been so close with Ryan, that the retreat just made us closer. Something I have learned from the retreat was how other mentors in the program were also mentors to me. LAS, no matter what class you are, is a huge family. I learned so much from other Sophomores in the program and I know I could go to any of them for help and not just my mentor. From what I have learned from our Mentor/Mentee retreat, I will not only be a Mentor to my future Mentee, but to all of the future freshman of LAS.

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Team Moth and Leadership Safari 2014

LS 2014 Finch

“Welcome to CMU” is what I heard from a bunch of screaming safari guides walking into Finch Fieldhouse. I was quite overwhelmed at first because there were so many people. Over 2,000 students were in attendance. I have participated in many leadership conferences and camps previously, but none of them were anything like this experience.

Leadership Safari is a program put on by Central Michigan University to help incoming students, whether you are a Freshman on your first day or Junior transfer, adapt and feel welcome to their new school. Many people will ask about Leadership Safari and wonder what did you do. “Wow” seems to be the common answer because you don’t really know how to explain a weeks worth of excitement, enthusiasm, friendship, eye opening, reflection, diversity, self worth, and so much more. We learn so much during this week in such an unique way. We listened to guest speakers including: “The Dating Doctor” David Coleman, Michael Miller, Ed Gerety, Slam Poets “The Asia Project”, and comedians Eric O’Shea and Alexandra McHale. These speakers all had a very interesting way to explain to us how to take the shoes of other people and walk a couple miles in them to see not just our way, but the perspective of others. Leadership isn’t just about self gain, but the betterment of people surrounding us. Let me introduce to you a group of new CMU students that really impacted my life.

Mothia

Each participant in Leadership Safari get placed in a group of 8-12 people to do activities, and other interesting games and challenges. I introduce to you my safari group, Team Moth… Yes, moth. You would think that we could have had a name like Tiger or Panda. No, I was one of the many unfortunate participants who got a scary insect like millipede or termite. Anyways, we improvised to call ourselves the Mothia. Get it.. I know we are too clever, but clever is something very little that describes us. Our team (Pictured Above) (Top Row: Brennan, Nate, Dakota, Aly, Evan (myself), and Kylie. Bottom Row: Jeana, Faith, Lane, Kayde, Olivia, and Mercedes) is a very diverse group. They taught me so much Safari Week its unbelievable. Learning about different people and how they see one view completely different than another person is very interesting. This particular group of people come from different homes, with a different style of living, with different families, different group of friends, different views on life, and different views on one another. The one thing that wasn’t different about each other, is that we all consider ourselves to be best friends. Building the connections and friendship, I feel, is what Leadership Safari is all about. We might all be different, but together, we are all Chippewas.

LS 2014 Flying C