Over the weekend, the Creativity & Entrepreneurship students traveled to the YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch for an overnight retreat. This is a special weekend for students to be outdoors in lovely Colorado and spend some real community time together.
We began by reflecting on our “innovator” identities. Referencing Tom Kelley’s book, The Ten Faces of Innovation, in small groups, students discussed what they thought each other’s “faces” were, and then, revealed which “faces” they think they are most. Then, we created name badges that listed our “faces” and a key quote that stood out about our favorite “face”. Next, we shared as a whole group, and then created a human bar graph to realize what a diverse range of “faces of innovation” we represent as a group, and we shared which “faces” we aspire to be. Remarkably, our student group represents the spectrum of “faces” in the book, but we also feel we could add some additional “faces”.
Afterwards, we spent a few hours doing a challenge course and some low ropes activities. Sometimes, the group was divided into smaller groups, and other times they worked together to overcome the obstacles. At one point, during “Mt. Everest”, student frustration mounted and the tension grew because students were not listening well and problem solving together.
During a delicious dinner of steak and chicken fajitas made by students, Corinne led a discussion on the different phases of teamwork. She outlined the four phases as- norming, storming, performing, and mourning. We asked the students how they saw these teamwork dynamics playing out in the challenge course, academics, and the workplace.
After much more eating, relaxing, playing, and finally some sleep, we had a huge pancake breakfast the next morning, followed by a walk through the fall trees. In a meadow next to some Aspen trees, we sat and shared our “cajitas”, or personal objects that represented something significant about our identities and culture. This was a powerful moment where students opened up about what was truly important to them in their lives and what they cared about most deeply. To finish the retreat, we wrote personal goal statements to ourselves on a card and sealed them in enveolopes to be opened at the end of year. We set one year goals and four year goals, the things they want to achieve by the time they graduate.
The C&E students have built a strong foundation of community and learned much about each other in the past three weeks. In the coming weeks, they will learn how to put design thinking into action.