Spring Orientation is, without a doubt, one of the most critical points for LDP throughout the whole year. It’s when we take all of our applicants to Touch of Nature for a weekend so we can give them crash course of the LDP. For many of these applicants, it is their first time interacting with LDP, so it is very important to establish standards, without overworking the new members.
Spring Orientation was my project for the semester and I was committed to ensuring it was going to be the best one yet. I had a lot of freedom over what we were actually going to do. For the most part, the only requirements were we had to sleep and make time to eat. The remaining time was up to me to decide. I figured our schedule should be tailored to teach each of the five exemplary leadership practices. For fun, we played Capture the Flag, a game that we normally play during Spring Orientation fell under the first practice, Model the Way. The bon fire, another LDP tradition, went along with Inspire a Shared Vision. Challenge the Process was not one particular exercise, but multiple challenging activities, like blind dodge ball. We went to the Teams Course for Enable Others to Act, and played a game called Angels for Encourage the Heart.
While planning the event, I learned the number one rule in planning a schedule is redundancy. Last year, during Spring Orientation, it rained both days. This threw a wrench into some of our plans, as there were things we wanted to, but couldn’t do outside. To overcome this, I had a backup plan for every activity that was indoors. Fortunately, we didn’t have to use any of those backup plans, as the weather was clear and mild both Friday and Saturday. While I was working on the planning for spring orientation, I found myself writing Word documents for each activity (and its backup) that included the goal of the activity, the requirements, the supplies needed, and a brief description. Soon, I discovered what I had been doing. I was laying the framework for Spring Orientations to come. Future LDP members who lead Spring Orientation will be able to look back at each and every detail of this year’s Spring Orientation, even if they weren’t there.
Hopefully, this will allow us to record what went well and what didn’t more effectively, allowing us to make Spring Orientations in the future exponentially better. While I may have been the one leading the project, there’s no way I could have done it without my team. First of all, I would like to thank Mr. JR McGee for helping me plan and inspiring me to make Spring Orientation the best one yet, Ed Kretch (an LDP alumni) for making the long trip to Carbondale, Dr. DeRuntz for leading the LDP as a whole, my fellow LDP members for stepping up when I asked them to lead sections of Spring Orientation, Zach Warhus for being the chef for the weekend, and everyone who attended Spring Orientation. Without all of you, Spring Orientation could not have been excellent.