The ELP fall retreat is a three day event that “kicks-off” the fall semester in which the Environmental Center staff and student project leaders gather to participate in team-building activities, enjoy the natural environment and develop leadership skills.
This year’s fall retreat was held at Camp Weed & Cerveny Conference Center in Live Oak, Florida. This “all-inclusive, retreat into nature” provided the project leaders all the comforts of home, including specialized prepared meals, activities and lots of unique places to explore.
The theme of this year’s retreat was “Advocacy 101” with a focus on environmental and social justice issues. Jacqueline Crucet, the senior program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association, was our workshop facilitator. She led a very interactive workshop which included role play where the project leaders took turns acting as citizen advocates and elected officials. The role play focused on learning communication skills and how to develop talking points when meeting with elected officials.
Some of the fun, team-building activities included kayaking on the 140 acre White Lake and hiking and birding on nature trails. To cool off after hiking, students enjoyed playing water volley ball in the Jr. Olympic Pool. The evenings were filled with bon fires, s’mores, story-telling and reflection time.
Maria Mark is the Environmental Leadership Program Coordinator.