For those of you who haven’t spent much time in the Upper Midwest, this title may need some clarification. Yes, cheese curds are crispy, hot, delicious lumps of deep-fried cheese curds. Immediately upon first bite, you can practically feel the cheesy, melty goodness go straight to your arteries. I ate about 1/2lb of them in Curly’s Pub at Lambeau Field as my appetizer. No, I’m not ashamed.
From June 9th to June 15th, I traveled as a chaperone with 7 of my colleagues and 39 Archmere students to St. Norbert College in DePere Wisconsin for the very first St. Norbert’s College Leadership Corps program. As we left Philadelphia at 6:44am bound for Chicago where we would transfer to the Green Bay Airport (much smaller than I’d anticipated) to be picked up by the nicest bus drivers in the world who then took us to the college. The director of the program, Corday Goddard, was with us from morning to night every single day. Thanks to his unparalleled dedication, the students (and the teachers) had a phenomenal experience.
Students typically began each day with a classroom session during which they would engage in deep exploratory discussions about the principles of leadership, what makes a good leader, and understanding how each person can maximize his or her own unique set of skills to become an effective leader. Students spent most afternoons on campus participating in hands-on leadership activities, the highlight of which was an all-day ropes course in which they had to work together to overcome physical and mental obstacles. This was incredibly rewarding for my colleagues and me as we got to witness some typically quiet, reserved students transform into confident leaders as they faced their fears with universally positive support from their peers. The kids pulled together on that course and not a negative word was spoken all day – it was nothing short of inspiring.
Leadership Trust Activity
Ropes Course: jumping off the top of a telephone pole to grab a rubber chicken.
Most evenings we left campus to hang out and experience the vibrant nightlife of the greater Green Bay area. We were fortunate enough to have behind-the-plate seats at Monday night’s Timber Rattlers game, we rode Elvis’ favorite roller coaster, the Zippin Pippin at Bay Beach, and we toured the majestic Lambeau Field, even walking out to the field itself through the tunnel that the Packers themselves use at the start and second half of each game.
One particular evening, we were privileged to attend Mass and tour St. Norbert Abbey. The leader at the time, Abbott Pennings, was the priest who purchased Archmere from the Raskob family in 1932 and opened the school that same year. The connection between Archmere and St. Norbert College spans 81 years of incredibly rich history and being able to experience that connection firsthand was breathtaking.
But back to leadership…
Students had been placed into groups and were tasked with coming up with a realistic idea to improve Archmere and its surrounding community. At the end of the week, each group was to present its idea and a (very official) voting process would determine which group’s idea would be implemented first, starting this fall. The students agreed to report back to Corday and St. Norbert College regularly throughout the upcoming school year with progress updates.
I’m looking forward to posting some follow-ups here on the blog with more pictures of the kids in action.
That’s all for now, I’ll be heading to Shenandoah National Park with Mr. Jordan, Mr. Dougherty, Mr. Levine, and 35 rising senior boys for 4 days of hiking and camping in the Appalachian Mountains.