On the September 29th, Student Government, along with the House prefects, and board members of ASTRA and Interact, traveled to Lake Keowee our first ever SDS Leadership Retreat. In previous years, the retreat has been held in a weekend in late August, and it has been limited to SGA. However this year, we decided to expand the purpose of the trip to encompass all areas of leadership at SDS. This allowed us to make decisions as a whole, which will hopefully further unify our leadership roles at SDS.
As in previous years, the MacMullan family was incredibly generous to share their beautiful lake house with house with us, which was the perfect setting for a fun and productive weekend. We were also accompanied by an awesome group of faculty that included Mr. MacMullan, Dr. Fisher, Dr. Owens, Mrs. Phillips, and Mrs. McGrath.
Each day we had multiple sessions that included discussions about the key values of being a leader, collaborative leadership building activities, and how to hone important skills such as taking constructive criticism. Of course these meetings were accompanied by a plethora of snacks and some occasional joking around. House prefects and ASTRA and Interact leaders also met in small groups to talk about upcoming events and get a rough outline of plans for the rest of the year. One of our biggest accomplishments of the weekend was establishing a list of the six core values that we collectively deemed most important to be displayed with the SGA mission statement in order to give it more meaning.
While we were very productive, we left plenty of opportunities for fun in our weekend. From dance offs on the dock, to ice cream excursions and movie watching, to countless wakeboarding attempts (emphasis on attempts), there was no shortage of laughter and relaxation. We even got to witness Dr. Owens’ flawless waterskiing skills that she supposedly hasn’t put to use since she skied for Clemson. Clearly not much has changed since her college days, and I think it is safe to say that we were all pretty impressed.
Overall, we felt that the Leadership Retreat was extremely successful and the perfect way for Student Government, the service clubs, and the House System to collaborate, get to know each other better, and kick off our plans for the school year. Many of us are already looking forward to next year’s retreat!
-Ellie Toler, Class of 2020