After hearing everyone else’s plans for fall break, I started to feel less enthusiastic about mine – spending Thursday and Friday at a leadership conference.
When Natalie Barcelo, the Weber State Davis campus vice president, offered me the opportunity, I was absolutely stoked. Leadership and communication skills? Super valuable and applicable to every situation.
But the excitement gradually died down. I hate to admit it, but it actually hit the point that I considered bailing on the conference an hour before it started.
However, I would have felt horrible as a no-show after troubling everyone with the paperwork and registration fees, so I tried to convince myself the two-day, 18-hour activity wouldn’t be so bad.
Looking back, I am extremely glad I attended the sessions. The whole spiel did last quite a while, but every part of it was spent learning new tips and meeting fun people.
When we met one of the keynote speakers, Jason LeVasseur, he gathered all attendees (more than 100 of us) outside by the clock tower and played his elevator game with us.
LeVasseur asked us to pretend we were on a giant elevator going up to the 500th floor, but we were stuck with a bunch of strangers. He had us walk around, introduce ourselves and perform a series of fun, slightly awkward handshakes.
Don’t believe me? One of our last handshakes involved “milking the cow.” See? Even the name sounds horrifying enough. Basically, you clasp your hand together, then flip them around so your thumbs are pointing towards the ground. And your lucky, lucky partner got to pretend your thumbs were a cow’s udders and try to milk them. True story.
As interesting as that experience was, it was actually a very clever icebreaker. By the end, no one could hold in the giggle because it was just such a weird concept. It seemed to make people feel more comfortable after it was over.
Inside the Union Building ballrooms, one corner was set up with a ball pit for people to “sit down and make a friend.” It was a cute idea, with different questions written on each ball so participants could get to know each other.
To close off Thursday night, we went out to Wildcat Village and had the options of sitting by the fire and socializing, playing capture the flag or a game of volleyball.
Early Friday morning, we were back at it again with breakfast (can’t beat free food!) and another keynote speaker, Arel Moodie.
Mr. Moodie has been featured in Inc. Magazine’s “30 Under 30” list, according to his online biography.
Just five minutes into his presentation, I could see exactly why. He was enthusiastic, but not cheesy. He was well-prepared, but he didn’t sound rehearsed. He was extremely flexible and just went along with the flow of things.
After his talk, we went to three different workshops of our own choosing, which enlightened us with even more leadership skills. They clarified things like the meaning of power and significance of knowledge.
At the end of it all, I had an amazing experience. The conference taught so much about leadership skills, but I also made some amazing new friends in those two days.
For any students interested in leadership positions, I would highly recommend attending this conference the next time the opportunity it comes around.