On September 17, the Northwood University Athletic Department sponsored the second annual Student-Athlete Leadership Retreat. The leadership training was conducted by the professional staff at Eagle Village in Hersey, Michigan. The retreat, attended by 35 student-athlete leadership representing each varsity program, connects with the university's 2018 theme, Lead.
"After last year's inaugural retreat we received such great feedback and saw such excellent results we decided to continue the program this year," said Dave Marsh, Northwood University Director of Athletics. "This year's program has brought similar feedback and was a valuable experience for all who attended.
The Leadership Retreat is designed to achieve four goals:
- Develop leaders on Northwood's teams to help build have success on and off the field
- Develop leadership skills to help student-athletes beyond their careers at Northwood
- Have Northwood teams work together to support each other on and off the field
- Provide a basis for SAAC (Student-Athlete Advisory Committee)
Student-athletes participated in various training exercises, including a classroom session, an outdoor mountain rescue course and an indoor high ropes course. Sessions allowed the student-athletes to build a better understanding of blending different personalities and effectively communicating among a team to achieve goals. The retreat also allowed student-athletes to understand their leadership roles on and off the playing field and in their careers beyond Northwood.
Zach Allread, a senior on the men's basketball team, has attended the retreat both years. "The leadership retreat was beneficial to my teammates and I," said Allread. "I learned how important it is to take ownership of my actions as well as building relationships with my teammates so I can lead them in the most positive way. I plan to focus on these main ideas and use other ideas I learned to lead our team to success this season."
Senior track team high jumper Heaven Powell also had a terrific experience, stating "This leadership retreat was the perfect combination between challenging and fun! I can't wait to apply everything I've learned about being a good leader to my team during my last season, and more importantly to become the best teammate I can be to my Northwood family."
In order to continue to help the student-athletes develop and hone their leadership skills, follow-up meetings are planned throughout the academic year. "We emphasized to the student leaders that the purpose was to help their leadership and our teams, not just have a fun day," noted Marsh. "Each student signed a sheet committing to work on specific areas of leadership. We will then meet in the coming months to review how they are doing, share experiences, and continue to commit to being great leaders. Hopefully this will be very impactful to their experience at Northwood and after graduation."