On Friday Nov. 20 and Friday Dec. 4, juniors returned to Loyola’s campus to participate in the Junior Leadership Retreats. Led by Campus Ministry Program Coordinator Christian Astran, the retreats allowed students to foster their leadership skills by taking part in group activities, discussions and reflections.
Astran said, “The main purpose of the Junior Leadership Retreats is to provide an opportunity to introduce the concept of servant-leadership into students in the junior class who want to help serve their Cub brothers in leadership positions.”
The retreats are specifically designed for juniors as they are finally ready to make the leap to become the leaders in the community. The retreat offers an opportunity for juniors to learn more about themselves and their own leadership styles. Students participated in a group activity where they discussed their personality type and how their work ethic correlates to their leadership abilities.
Counselor Gina Liberotti said, “I was very impressed with how our Campus Ministry team re-imagined the retreat. The number of students who could participate at any one time was diminished, but the experience remained robust. The careful and thorough planning made social distancing easy, and we were able to celebrate mass thanks to Father Hudson.”
The students spent the day working on their leadership skills by participating in group workshops and team-building activities. They were given tasks such as creating skits based on Biblical stories displaying leadership qualities and planning fundraisers to raise awareness for men’s health issues.
Junior Jacob Koch said, “One valuable lesson that I learned from the retreat is the importance of self reflection. I get so caught up in the busyness of school and extracurriculars that I often don’t take the time to step back and evaluate how I am doing, how I am treating others, and how I can do better in all aspects of my life. Being able to spend a full hour by myself and in silence during the retreat was a very helpful and relaxing experience. I definitely plan on doing more of these on my own in the future.”
The retreat allowed students to identify their strengths and weaknesses as leaders. One of the most valuable takeaways from the retreat was the lesson of how to be a leader who enjoys serving others without receiving credit. Senior leaders in attendance gave speeches to the juniors revolving around their evolution as Loyola student leaders.
Senior retreat leader Julian Ha said, “My junior leadership retreat was one of the best experiences I had at Loyola. The time alone allowed me to reflect introspectively, but the group activities allowed me to connect with my Cub brothers. I wanted to recreate that experience for the juniors despite the pandemic, so I gave a speech about being vulnerable and displaying weakness to become a better leader. I enjoyed spending time with the next generation of our school’s leaders, and I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did when I was in their shoes.”
Astran said, “I hope that students take away the idea that leadership is all about being willing to be a servant. One of the highest callings a person can do with their life is being willing to serve others with all of their heart, mind, body, and spirit. The greatest leaders are always those who will serve others, no matter the cost or circumstance.”