Written by Tonya Chen
One of my favorite experiences in college was Leadership Kickoff. It was where I met the friends who would stay up until 3 a.m. working on Excel assignments with me, and the mentors who would guide me through my first year away from home. I even conquered my fear of heights by leaping off a 50 feet platform dubbed (very appropriately) “The Screamer”.
My co-chair, Uttam, and I quickly realized that one of the best things about kickoff is that it highlights the community in BHP. There were always people working towards making the retreat a success, even before we jumped on board. As cliché as it may sound, Uttam and I want to say, “We couldn’t have done it without y’all.”
Thank you…Student Leaders
All the amazing student leaders (Peer Mentors, HBA Executive Board, and Ethics Board Co-chairs) worked tirelessly to make this event possible. They literally did everything; from facilitating ropes courses for hours under the Texas sun, to dancing in the team cheers during the “BH-Playoffs”. This year we wanted to help the peer mentor groups grow closer to each other on a deeper, personal level. The student leaders led small groups for Cabin Chats until 1:00 a.m., where everybody shared their perspectives on the broad topic of life.
Thank you…Newcombe Tennis Ranch
I’d give them 6 stars if I could. The wonderful staff guided us through daunting high ropes courses, and gave words of encouragement every step of the way. They’ve accommodated us year after year with the best facilities and food. They also threw the best ice cream & karaoke party to end a long day of introductions, problem solving, competitions, and everything in between. Shoutout to Tisha for gracing us with her amazing Cher performance. (If you ever have the chance to get her in front of a mic, do it.)
Thank you…Amazing Staff
The BHP staff are the reason BHP students love the program. Thanks to Tisha, Greta, Paul, Dr. Prentice, Shelley, and Lynn for attending and assisting with the retreat, and for being the backbone of it all. The kickoff ended with the formal convocation ceremony, joined by the amazing advisors and director. The freshmen learned about the honor code and promised to abide by it. It was the perfect closing to the weekend.
Uttam is officially my favorite person. It was so great to watch him interact with the freshmen and make them laugh. I honestly cannot imagine co-chairing with anybody else. Thank you for forcing me to sing” Breaking Free” from High School Musical against my will.
You all were put through a lot this past weekend. You played an intense game of rock-paper-scissors, gave us inspiring 30-second motivational speeches, recreated the UT Tower with your bodies for the scavenger hunt, and much more. But you exuded team spirit the entire time. You made this Leadership Kickoff memorable for years to come. We wish we could offer you more than our final parting words because of the incredible impression you made on us. Remember, you are the master of your fate; you are the captain of your soul. We can’t wait to see what you do!