Jeremiah and I are so excited to share with you a little bit of our experiences as CoPresidents so far – thanks for reading!
In mid-June we held our annual Leadership Retreats, where teens serving as a PFO CoChair or Small Group Leader receiving training to prepare them for the year ahead. CoChairs work directly with PFO staff to lead teen committees in the fall, and Small Group Leaders are a responsible for guiding a small group of teens through the year. Having stepped into my role as CoPresident, I was interested to see how these retreats would be different from the one I attended last year as a Small Group Leader. I am happy to say that my experience was very different, but equally magnificent.
As CoPresident, I had a huge hand in planning and facilitating the retreats, which was a little difficult to manage at first, with exams in full swing. My first year in leadership, I really didn’t know what was going to happen during my three days at the lake, but this year I knew every moment top to bottom, so I didn’t expect any surprises. To my shock, the retreats were full of surprises, the main one being the amount of growth that I saw in the other teens and in myself. At the CoChair retreat, all of the teens were new to leadership and were all a little timid, but by the end of the three days, they had grown so much and were ready to rock and roll as impeccable leaders.
When the Small Group Leaders arrived for their retreat, I didn’t expect to see as much growth in them, because so many of them had been on a leadership retreat before. Once again, I was wrong! I was shocked by the amount of bonding and growth the Small Group Leaders went through. Being a part of orchestrating a retreat that encouraged such incredible growth taught me that I love being that backstage role and seeing how the work that I put in benefits other people, so that they can go out and do the same for others.
One new aspect of the Leadership Retreats this year was “Science with Friends”. Jeremiah and I, along with Loren (the brand-new PFO Connector), each performed a science experiment and then led a discussion about the meaning that could be applied to our lives. For mine, I led an experiment commonly referred to as “Elephant Toothpaste”. We used the activity, a chemical reaction that causes the contents of a container to bubble up and explode, to talk about pushing our “stuff” down. When we push down our stuff – negative feelings, hurtful past experiences, etc. – it eventually all becomes too much and bursts out of us. Like the bubbles in the container, once it all explodes, we can’t just put it back in. Leading the session was incredible; and we had an amazing conversation together afterwards.
The leadership retreats this year were fantastic, and we have such amazing leaders who are ready knock off this year’s socks (in a good way, of course). I am so proud of all of the growth I have seen in each and everyone of the leadership teens, and I cannot wait to see how they help other teens in PFO to grow immensely.
Here’s to an amazing year ahead!