Written by | Austin Ulen
Sixteen blue office chairs sat in a lifeless semi-circle in the college union basement, but over the next two days those chairs witnessed a swelling of positivity and passion they had never seen before. For 13 students, two faculty members, and one special guest…this was an experience like no other.
Many students and those in the workforce have attended some sort of leadership training.
Amber Brookshire, director of Testing Services at AC and attendee of the program, said, “We have these other leadership speakers come in every year. I’ve experienced them as a student in college and as a club sponsor, and they’re good, and I’ve seen good things come out of them.”
The HEART of a Leader program that took place on January 5th and 6th isn’t like all of the other programs to come through AC though. “The program was outstanding…and that word doesn’t even give it justice, “ Brookshire said. The program is unique not just because of its content and facilitator, but because of the attitudes participants are encouraged to have during the two rigorous days.
They’re asked to open up their hearts and minds, and the rest falls into place. This doesn’t mean there’s no hard work involved.Participants are taken through a gauntlet of exercises that allow them to strengthen themselves mentally and emotionally, and realize the potential that lies within. Emily Henriquez, a social work major and training attendee, said, “The track’s laid out for you to succeed at the end, and every piece of information he had to give to us, and every example he had, and every activity was geared toward finishing on such a strong crescendo that there’s no way it could fail if you really wanted it.”
Ryan Penneau, the founder and facilitator of the HEART of a Leader program, makes it well known throughout the training that he doesn’t believe his training is “transformative” or “life-changing”, but does believe it is a catalyst for change. The struggle with most is the “follow-up factor”, what you do with the knowledge afterwards. People tend to scoff at the idea of forced self-improvement and once the door to that training room closes, few carry what they learned out that door. When asked why he created and leads the program Penneau said, “Why? I do it because it works. I like investing my time and energy into something that works, and I believe it does. I believe the HEART of a Leader experience demonstrates the true potential of individuals. They get to experience themselves without hesitation, fear or insecurity. They surprise themselves, and from then forward, they know what they are capable of and hopefully continue to develop that awesome authenticity.”
Student Life is sponsoring an AC Student Leadership Retreat with Ryan Penneau taking place on Friday, March 4th from 9 a.m. until Saturday March 5th at 6 p.m. at the Talon Point Conference Center in Channing, Texas. The retreat is open to all students and the cost is only $20. Student Life is covering all additional expenses, including overnight lodging, leadership facilitator fees, supplies, all snacks and drinks.
Friday lunch and dinner, and Saturday breakfast and lunch will also be provided.
Space is limited, and the deadline to sign up is February 26th, so register in the Student Life Office in the CUB basement of the Washington Street Campus.
“I’m supposed to work that weekend, but no, I’m not working, because this is important to me. Even though I know it’s going to be different, and I’m not going through it like the students are going to go through it, but to be supportive and be a raving fan for the students that are going through the program. That’s important to me, and that’s worth anything I have to give up that weekend. I don’t want anyone to miss this opportunity,” Brookshire said.
For questions or information regarding the AC Student Leadership Retreat, call 806-371-5303 or email Heather Atchley at firstname.lastname@example.org.