by Chris Canniff
From January 4-9, 2015, the last week of winter break, the Boston College chapter of the LeaderShape Institute is hosting its annual retreat at the Wonderland Retreat Center in Sharon, MA. A national organization that has been around for more than 30 years, the LeaderShape Institute seeks to encourage intentional discernment around leadership topics. This year’s retreat will be the third one hosted by Boston College.
Courtney Cameron, A&S ‘16, participated in last year’s LeaderShape retreat, and this year, she will be serving as one of the onsite coordinators during the retreat along with Marwa Eltahir, A&S ‘17. Working with Adrienne Dumpe from the Office of Student Involvement and leaders from the national organization, Cameron and Eltahir will help to facilitate the retreat program with each day focusing on one of six themes, which include Building Community; The Value of One, the Power of All; Challenging What Is, Looking to What Could Be; Bringing Vision to Reality; Living and Leading with Integrity; and Staying in Action.
“It offers a lot of opportunities to get to know people in a really genuine way because you’re always around each other, eating all of your meals together. You end up spending late nights together up until 2am, just having these conversations. It’s a really special thing which you don’t always get the opportunity to do on campus as much as you’d like to with such a large number of people,” said Cameron.
While it is mainly younger students who sign up for the retreat, Cameron underscored that LeaderShape has something to offer all students.
“Something that is really special about LeaderShape is that everyone can gain something from it. Last year, we had some students who had already created on campus orgs and were already in leadership positions, and they reaped the benefits as much as others. There is something that you can take away and apply. It’s a really tangible process.”
Cameron says that they even target students who do not view themselves as leaders.
“I was a little bit lost during sophomore year, where I wasn’t as involved as I wanted to be and wasn’t really sure where my involvement should be going. I knew what I was passionate about, but I didn’t really know what that meant on campus. One of my key takeaways was that LeaderShape really provides you with confidence.”
In regard to the specifically Jesuit values which the retreat instills, Cameron said, “Discernment is an important Jesuit ideal, and LeaderShape itself is a discernment process. It is very intentional, and intentional discernment is a key ideal of Boston College, which is also very service oriented. It becomes especially evident when surrounded by so many people who are passionate about different things, but there are always the common component of social justice and service and men and women for others.”
The application process for the LeaderShape retreat will close on October 31. For more details about the retreat and to sign up, go to bc.edu/leadershape.