The following blog post by Junior Eric Hunt testifies the impact Wakonse Conference had on his leadership growth. Eric was selected by the Leadership Program Staff to attend the conference because of the initiative he took to get to know his professors at UT.
Wakonse didn’t teach me about business, it taught me about life. A bold statement, I know. It is one of many ways I felt after leaving the grounds of Camp Miniwanca with a heavy heart and more friends, family, and lessons than could fit in my suitcase. When arriving at Wakonse I didn’t expect any of that. I simply thought it would be a nice retreat, with people I did not know, and a place I would soon forget, but luckily I was completely wrong. When I left, I truly knew I was walking away a better person. From reflecting on who I was as a person, to truly building community and redefining my own definition of a team, Wakonse made sure I was challenged in new ways. From reflection, I learned how I operate and how I can use my strengths in any scenario. Wakonse showed me what it means to not just care about an end product or result, but to remember the people who helped get it there. I learned to encourage, to be vulnerable, to mentor, and so much more. While there the faculty really listened to our feedback about engagement in the classroom. With them we led small discussion groups where we voiced our opinions and gave our perspectives. The faculty would take notes, stay engaged, and dug for as much information as they could get. They truly did care about making their classroom a learning environment for all.
I know some of this may sound vague and ambiguous, but as I said early in this testimony, it’s hard to properly describe this experience. At Wakonse, lessons are around every corner. For me they were found in late night conversations with my groups, on the beach with a stranger, in the camp counselors, in the pure silence and total disconnect of an evening sunset, and moments I found myself alone reflecting.
I was fortunate enough to learn about teamwork, balance in life, community, and self-reflection. Wakonse is an adventure many should take. Seven days at Camp Miniwanca and I arguably learned more about myself, other, and the world than I have in any classroom. I wish I could go back and relive it ten times over. I look forward to hearing the lessons learned about life from the next students who go. Hopefully it is as impactful for them as it was for me.”