Arriving at Camp Tecumseh, IN was a journey. I started my travel in Columbus on Thursday, January 26th. Originally scheduled for a 3:00pm flight, I arrived at the airport at 1:14pm, immediately checked my luggage, and stood in a relatively short security line. I raced to my gate only to be informed that my flight had been delayed twice due to inclement weather, which means I would’ve missed my connection flight in Washington D.C. I accepted a new assignment on a Delta Airlines flight at 7:15pm and patiently waited in the restaurant until it was time to board. I finally arrived in Indianapolis (Yes, I took a flight from Columbus to Indianapolis) at 10:59pm and walked to baggage claim to retrieve my luggage. To my surprise, my checked luggage was nowhere to be found because it was sent the wrong city.
Despite the series of unfortunate events, I was happy to have arrived safely and prepared myself for what would be a phenomenal Delta Sigma Phi President Academy.
The facilitators arrived on site at Camp Tecumseh on Friday morning. Located in Brookston, Indiana, it is also home to limited cell phone service, a lot of nature, well-water, and fake animals hanging on the well for aesthetics. However, I knew this wasn’t a vacation. This was a weekend to engage over 100 chapter presidents of Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity to become better men and to live better lives.
I was initially nervous to serve as a facilitator because I am not affiliated with Delta Sigma Phi, nor any other IFC fraternity. I had reservations about how I could translate my experience as an NPHC member and Fraternity Council President to ensure I was benefitting their experience. It didn’t take long for the student leaders to alleviate this worry. From the very first night, I was impressed with how interested they were to learn more about me and identify ways our fraternity life experiences were similar. I especially felt this love during my small group facilitation experience with Scott Rich and Group #1.
My favorite experience this weekend was helping nine student leaders in my small group identify their purpose as chapter presidents. Asking questions about their leadership identity prompted dialogue about how they want to be remembered in their community. We explored what it means to practice values-congruent leadership and how to use their respective strengths to create buy-in within the chapter. All of the students were determined to motivate their members to dismantle the negative stereotypes Greek life has acquired over the years. As a former chapter president, these are conversations I wish I would have had prior to assuming my role because I know these presidents are well-prepared to be the difference in their chapters and community.
Leaving Camp Tecumseh, I now have new friends located in all areas of the country. I can’t explain how honored I was to be invited to participate in such a life-changing experience. The transition from undergraduate student leader to facilitator is not easy, but to be connected with leaders who believe in the mission of fraternity life is beyond inspiring. These are men who are committed to exploring the power they have to change the narrative of fraternity life.
These are men of courage. These are men of action. These are men of excellence.
Thank you, Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity, for inviting me to serve as a facilitator at the 2017 Presidents Academy! I enjoyed working with all of the facilitators who helped me realize my potential as a future student affairs practitioner. (Lynsy, you are the BEST!) I hope you all learned as much from me as I learned from you. I look forward to staying in touch and always being available to serve. Together we will be better men. Together we will live better lives.
Encourage somebody to be great today!