The 2015 Mountain Lake Leadership Conference is just around the corner! What is Mountain Lake, you ask? From November 13-15, you can join Longwood’s own Student Educators for Active Leadership (SEAL) and dozens of your fellow Lancers for a weekend away on Smith Mountain Lake. Our theme this year is “Leadership is a journey, not a destination,” as our focus will be on using leadership to find our passion, develop a vision, and seek a direction for our future. Between large sessions with our keynote speaker, breakout sessions with some of your favorite Longwood faculty, staff, and SEALs, hikes, and giant dance parties, there is something that is perfect for everyone.
Here are ten reasons why you (yes, you) should come on Mountain Lake:
- The location is pretty. And cozy.
Located just outside Roanoke, Virginia about 2 hours away from our dear Farmville, the W.E. Skelton 4-H Conference Center is right on Smith Mountain Lake, surrounded by pretty trees with fall leaves, the beautiful water, and mountains lining the skyline full of stars. How could you say no to the mountains on a cozy November weekend? Never fear, you will not be camping; rather, you will be staying in warm lodges and attending sessions in wide-open spaces.
- Breakout sessions teach you so much about yourself.
While we have one main theme for the entire weekend, each session is different! Pete Mockaitis comes to us from Chicago as our keynote speaker, and will be spending the weekend with us. On Saturday, you will have 4 different breakout sessions with Longwood facilitators, and you get to take your pick on what sessions you attend! Over past years, sessions have ranged from StrengthsQuest and personality focuses, envisioning future careers, managing stress in organizations, and loving and accepting yourself for the beautiful person you are. You will learn so much more about yourself than you thought possible and you will develop new ideas on how to make your leadership roles on campus stronger, more effective, and more passion driven.
- There are s’mores.
You heard right, S’MORES! While we spend much of our time learning and growing in leadership, sometimes we eat delicious food! During the evenings, you can find all the students hanging out outside under the star-lit sky, making s’mores, singing goofy campfire songs, meeting new people and spending time with old friends. Now, who can say no to a roasted marshmallow and a friend?
- Engaging conversation with your peers.
Each student that attends will be in a small group, led by a couple SEAL members. This time will be spent debriefing on sessions, talking about their personal visions for leadership, and playing some fun icebreakers! While we learn so much in our breakout sessions, this is really when we engage in deeper conversations, as we learn most from those we surround ourselves with, especially those with new and different opinions and ideas. Plus, it’s hard to come out of these small group experiences without a new role model and maybe a friend (or two) (or a whole group of them).
- You get to be outdoors!
One of the best parts about November is the beautiful weather – not too hot, not too cold. One of the best parts about Smith Mountain Lake is the beautiful view – mountains one way, water another. Coming on Mountain Lake, you literally get three straight days of breathtaking views and gorgeous weather (you might need a jacket, but ya know, that’s up to you). There are walking and hiking paths, basketball courts, you name it! While we have loads of fun inside the many lodges, lots of our fun happens outside too.
- There is ALWAYS room to grow as a leader .
I think we all know what I mean when I say that here at Longwood, we strive for citizen leadership. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the idea that we are all strong leaders and that we possess many leadership skills, which is true; however, we are nowhere near perfect. True to our theme, leadership means constant growth and constant striving and reaching towards better change and stronger visions, and while we may all be leaders now, there is always so much to learn, and we are surrounded by so many people who can teach us just that.
- Meet new people.
Mountain Lake is one of those things where you spend a couple days away from home with a bunch of strangers. I know, you’re like..wait, what? Strangers? While you may know a good amount of participants attending, chances are, there will be so many new faces along for the ride with you! Mountain Lake has brought me so many new friendships and new role models as well. At Mountain Lake, we encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and meet new people! Whether it be a freshman you recognize from Spanish class, a senior who you’ve seen around campus, a professor you’ve always wanted to take but can’t seem to get into their class, or someone who you have literally never laid eyes on before, there is someone out there who is waiting to meet you, too!
- Giant dance party…need I say more?
But really. A giant dance party. Saturday night, you will find yourself in one giant room with all of your new friends, shaking it off, whipping, nae naeing, partying in the usa, cha cha sliding, cotton eye joe-ing, you name it, we dance it. What better way to let lose after a busy day, than jumping up and down and making a fool of yourself? (Answer: there isn’t a better way. Giant dance parties are the best way.)
- Every year is a new experience.
I can hear the words now: “but I went last year.” You want to know my response? “WHO CARES.” As a senior here at Longwood, this upcoming Mountain Lake will be my fourth, and each and every year provides me with new experiences, new laughter, new friends, new knowledge, a new tshirt, you name it. I find it so hard to compare each one, as they have all brought forth such new and different ideas and experiences to my life, and I am able to apply each one to my leadership roles at Longwood in different ways.
- We are fun.
Someone has to run Mountain Lake, right? That’s us SEALs. You may have seen us on campus throwing socks at each other, or dancing to loud music in front a giant black piece of plywood just last week. If you come on Mountain Lake, you’re pretty much signing up for a weekend with two dozen of the craziest, funniest, most unique, and most passionate people I have ever met. We as SEAL devote a lot of time and energy into making Mountain Lake such a wonderful experience, and we are so excited to share this experience with you. So, please come! Because as much as we love each other (and we do, we adore each other), we want other people to hang out with us this weekend, too. Because y’all are probably just as cool as we are (almost), and have so much leadership wisdom to share with us as well.
So, did I convince you? Don’t lie to me and say I didn’t, because I know I did. You can register here at this link: http://www.longwood.edu/leadership/mountainlake.htm, but you only have until October 30, so DO NOT WAIT because the fancy Longwood bus we ride will leave without you.
Can’t wait to see you all November 13! And November 14. And November 15 (which just so happens to be my 22nd birthday, so if there was an 11th reason, that might be it).
Oh, and tell your friends. Or classmates. Or strangers in d-hall. Or all of the above.
| ps hi katelyn walker – hope the blog shoutout you asked me for over six months ago was worth everything you could ever imagine |