Retreat To Move Forward?!

Garbage Bag Fashion Show Centennial H.S. Calgary has three Student Leadership classes each semester.  These are a combination of our Gr. 10 or Sr. classes (gr. 11s and 12s).  At the beginning of each semester we go away for a day with those classes to get to know each other better, receive leadership training, and set the direction for the semester.  Our experience at Centennial has shown that our students progress so much that day.  It used to take us 2-3 weeks of classes to achieve the same results.

What a typical Centennial Leadership Retreat looks like:

1. Mixers and Energizers – get them up and moving, meeting new people, and feeling excited about the day – you can find lots of great resources for these at the Canadian Student Leadership Association website – https://studentleadership.ca/

2. Spirit Groups – divide them as evenly as you can between boys and girls, grades, and mixing the classes – have them introduce themselves to each other and do some mixer activities with each other – then have them introduce themselves to the whole group

3. Leadership Lesson – have them doing something active which teaches a Leadership lesson that will serve you well that semester.

4. Lunch – We are within walking distance of several fast food restaurants.  We give them a longer lunch than they get during a regular school day.  It is important for them to spend time together.  We make sure that everyone is included and no one is left behind.

5. Afternoon energizers – you need to get them engaged after lunch.  This year we started with a modified rock, paper, scissors activity followed by the annual Garbage Bag Fashion Show.  We provide each spirit group with a number of garbage bags.  They dress up their model and have them strut the catwalk.  One year we didn’t do this and were told never to make that mistake again.

6. The Big Leadership Idea – You need to teach them something of significance about Leadership.  Everything you have done up to this point leads up to this moment.  We discussed 16 Leadership traits and debated  which one is the most important.  Lots of great discussion about what is most important as a leader.

If you don’t hold retreats consider adding them to your program.  They don’t have to be  overnight or complicated.  A day away works for us.  If you do retreat keep up the good work!

done up todone done so far in the day is getting them ready for this.  This year we compared 16 different Leadership traits.  Students voted and debated which one was the most important of the 16. If you don’t do retreats consider adding this to your program.  They don’t have to be complex overnight affairs.  A day away works for us.  If you are on the retreat bandwagon then keep it up. W

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