Written by | Alma Bustamante |
Amarillo College students experienced a two-day retreat where they had a chance to learn self-awareness and leadership skills. Around 50 students and faculty participated in the Spring Leadership Retreat on March 4-5 hosted by Student Life for $20 with facilitators Ryan Penneau and Bobby Audley. “We have worked really hard on changing our story and telling ourselves more positive things instead of allowing ourselves to continue with a negative cycle of thinking,” said Jenna Hooten, a biology major. Students participated in activities designed to improve their self-awareness skills. “It was $20 well spent for self-improvement. I achieved the goal of how to improve. I feel like I achieved the goal of better understanding what I need to do. I think that’s what it was really about,” said Stetson Smith, a business administration major.
Activities included breaking a cedar arrow with your throat, doing a group zipper line and breaking a piece of wood with your hand, among others. The reasoning behind the activities was to improve self-awareness and use those new skills to improve to be better people. “Nobody can get you there. Nobody can say, ‘Hey, here’s your goal,’ but people can teach you and support you,” Smith said. Some students said the retreat was a life-changing experience and definitely has changed the way they see and think about themselves and how they handle certain situations. “I learned that we hold ourselves back more than others do,” said David Do, a biology major. “It is our mentality in difficult situations that can either pull us through or drag us back. We are our own biggest enemies and we must conquer ourselves before we can conquer the world.”
At the end of the retreat, each student decided what to take from this retreat and how to apply it to his or her personal life. Juston Christensen said that after attending the retreat, he wanted to change some things in his life. “All the stuff here has helped me better apply myself to change because that’s the thing that I want for myself,” Christensen said. “I learned more about myself over this leadership retreat than I ever thought was possible,” said Alexis Tarango, a secondary education major. “I stepped into the arrow of becoming a better role model and broke through my leadership block of low self-esteem. I built friendships and strengthened relationships. My life is forever changed, and I am forever grateful.”
Penneau said he decided to start doing retreats for higher education when he attended himself a leadership retreat, and he said he realized the power that these kinds of retreats have and decided to have these kinds of experience for students available for students. “I wanted people to get out of this experience that self-management, that self-awareness of where they are and how they show up and how they can improve on that,” Penneau said. “I wanted to equip people with some of the tools that we’ve talking about the last couple of days so people have these as resources so that for tomorrow when that little voice comes in they know how to manage it.” Penneau said he doesn’t consider his retreats transformational but rather as the starting point to improve people’s lives. “The goal is never for me to be thanked,” he said.
“The goal is for the person that came through to thank themselves and be proud of what they have accomplished.”