Written by Michelle Zhang
If you were to walk past the McCombs Family Statue at 9 a.m. last Saturday, you would have seen 140 BHP freshmen, faculty, and student leaders getting ready to board three charter buses to the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch in New Braunfels. The event: the annual BHP Leadership Kickoff – a jam-packed 28 hours of outdoor activities, formal convocation, and comprehensive introduction for freshmen to the world of the UT Business Honors Program.
This year, I was lucky enough to have been able to plan Leadership Kickoff with my fantastic and fearless co-chair Kate Shanks. Although the weekend was filled with an abundance of exciting moments, here are the top 10 things we’ll remember from BHP Leadership Kickoff 2015.
- How helpful our student leaders were
With 12 peer mentors, eight HBA Executive Board members, and two Ethics Board chair (with overlap between PM and Exec and Ethics Board – wow, BHP students really do do everything!), we had a great deal of student help this year. Student leaders led groups in the many activities throughout the weekend, commanded attention at the appropriate times, assisted at morning check-in, and so much more without complaining for one second. You’re the real MVP’s, student leaders.
- The thrill on students’ faces during the high ropes
Part of Saturday’s afternoon activities was the high ropes course, which ranged from a 450 foot zip line to partner rope challenges to the terrifying Screamer. Whether or not students chose to take a Leap of Faith (a climb and jump off a wooden pole to reach a suspended rung several hundred feet off the ground) or watch their peers instead, we loved seeing the enthusiasm for action and adventure.
- Teams bonds being formed through the low ropes
On the flip side of the exciting high ropes, the low ropes course allowed for peer mentor groups to collaborate on team-building exercises such as the Spiderweb. In this activity, teams had to work together to make it through a “web” without touching the rope. However, each team member had to make it through a different section of the web, making for a challenging strategic and trust-forming exercise.
- Everyone dressed in business casual singing The Eyes of Texas
What is there to explain except that everyone looked great in their ironed shirts and shiny shoes? These freshmen are going to fit right in at McCombs.
- Peer mentor group chants at BHPlayoffs
If we were to explain BHPlayoffs, we’d say that it’s a culmination of all the team-bonding of the low ropes + action of the high ropes + natural competitive nature of BHP students into a two-hour face-off between all the peer mentor groups. The first activity of the night was peer mentor group chants, which elicited a conglomeration of huddles, carefully crafted disses, and even some choreographed dance moves from the talented teams. We event witnessed a student doing a backflip over another student.
- How hyped up everyone got during the Rock Paper Scissors tournament
Seriously, just look at this picture.
- Two words: Orange Hug
If you’ve never played this game, you basically have to pass an orange down a line of people using your neck. There are two reasons we chose to use this game: 1. you get to know your teammates very well, and 2. the priceless photos.
- Going through all the Scavenger Hunt photos
To spice things up this year, we added a photo scavenger hunt led by 18 student leaders in randomized groups. Some criteria items included spelling out BHP with their bodies, getting the farthest away from the starting point (one group made it all the way to the New Braunfels Fire Station – two miles away), and recreating Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus.
- Working with Tisha
Even with a lot on her plate already (namely, carrying twins!), our amazing advisor Tisha was with us every step of the way. She kept a comfortable distance so that we could set our own goals and accomplish our own tasks, but supported us with any resources we needed. Thank you, Tisha! You rock.
- Seeing it all come together at the end
Special thanks to BHP academic advisors Tisha Monsey, Paul Pritchett, and BHP career advisor Greta Fenley, for their help this past weekend. We couldn’t have done it without you!