Team Weekend By– Suddarsun Shivakumar

     Every August, the Leadership Development Program (LDP) hosts Team Week. The idea of Team Week is to help the new members bond and come together as a team. As LDP grew larger, we started accepting new members into the team even in the middle of the semester. The LDP can be seen as a stack of Jenga blocks: very closely bonded. When new members join the team, it can be tricky and difficult to get them as closely bonded as the rest of the team. This was a challenge for the senior leadership in the team, and we decided to have a “Mini-Team Week” for this purpose it was called the “Team Weekend” (Read Diogo Seixas’s article here on the purpose of team week).

                                                    Team Weekend                                                       The Team Weekend had multiple goals besides team bonding. A motivated person does not give up when things get difficult, but only the best strive for excellence when things get hard. We wanted everyone on the team to be the best they can possibly be. Through a simple challenge of jig-saw puzzles, we learned how things can get difficult without a clear vision of where we are going. Tony Calabrese, a retired instructor from the Kinesiology department, led activities that helped us realize that successful people do what normal people don’t. We also focused on learning the importance of gratitude. Often, people forget how important it is to give back to the community which has helped them learn and grow. Finally, we also learned how each member’s dream connects to the vision of LDP. It was my favorite part of the weekend. Every team member joined their mentor groups and talked about their dreams. This was a proud and enlightening moment for me as the president to see that everyone on my team had a vision of where they wanted to go in their life.

     The Team Weekend was an opportunity for all of us to revisit some of the vital lessons in leadership: having a vision, persevering for excellence, and prioritizing team relationships. This was the first Team Weekend we have had and it has become a standard for many more to come.
Tony Calabrese teaching LDP members leadership lessons