November 22, 2013
Applications available for LeaderShape retreatApplications for LeaderShape, a retreat that takes places Jan. 5 to Jan. 11, are now open.
Sixty students, along with six faculty and staff members, will be taken to the Ladore Conference Center in Waymart.
There, the students and faculty members undergo six days of intense team and leadership building exercises.
"LeaderShape is about leading with integrity," said Brent Papson, a coordinator for the program. "It's about leading the right way and developing core values. We have the ability to make a change in the world we live in."
The specifics of the LeaderShape program are mostly kept secret in order to encourage students to go in with an open mind. That is also why the faculty and staff members attending are not revealed until shortly before the trip because who is going may influence if a student wants to participate.
The program is offered to Susquehanna students for free, which is unlike most universities.
Susquehanna doesn't charge its students because they don't want to deter people who cannot afford the program.
LeaderShape involves a large amount of community building and discovering individual leadership styles, and it allows the participants to see how those styles work with other students.
Sophomore Danielle Boutwell, who went on the retreat last year, said: "It's really about defining yourself and redefining the self. If you understand yourself, it's easy to understand others. There was never a moment where I felt uncomfortable."
Boutwell is also one of three students who will return on the retreat this year as an on-site coordinator.
These are students who have previously gone on the trip and can help out with applications, advertising and certain aspects of the retreat.
This year marks the fifth that LeaderShape has been offered at Susquehanna.
The popularity of this program has increased over time, with students now realizing the benefits of attending.
"In the beginning, we were begging people to sign up, but now we have hundreds of applications every year," Papson said. "There is more supply than there is demand. It's been great to see everything grow."
A large part of the program is being able to meet other students and faculty members that students might not have the chance to interact with otherwise.
"My biggest takeaway was meeting people that I would have never normally met. It's so easy to get involved in a group or organization and be isolated," Boutwell said.
She said that some of the students she met on the trip are now some of her closest friends.
A new program called InShape is being started to keep alive the connections made at the retreat once students are back on Susquehanna's campus.
InShape allows students who previously went on the retreat to meet with other members who previously went, often through social programs and activities.
Many students even go to lunch or dinner with other participants, including staff members.
Boutwell said: "I've never heard of a negative experience. There's something you take away, no matter what."
She added: "Everyone here is at there best, that's how you form deeper connections and deeper relationships. I wanted to leave the program better than I entered. If you go in with that mindset, you don't need much else."
LeaderShape applications are available online and are due Nov. 22.