Trojan War is more than a legend

By Stephen Springer - Staff Reporter

Refreshing hikes, good food and great views could await a select group of Highline students looking to hone their leadership skills this winter.

On Jan. 26, 2018, Student Government will be taking a group of students to Islandwood Retreat Center on Bainbridge Island for a day-and-a-half excursion.

For its 15th year, the Winter Leadership Retreat will have a new theme: "Present is a Gift."

"We happen to name the retreat after what it does each year," said Iesha Valencia, director of the Center for Leadership and Service.

Valencia said she thinks the event has a lot of meaning this time.

"If you think about the year we're in with technology and media," she said. "There's so much happening…that sometimes it's challenging to be in the moment."

The foundation of this trip is a focus on growing leadership skills and experiencing nature in the middle of Washington winter. There will be guided hikes at the resort as well.

Valencia said she hopes that these experiences will help students look inward and realize something about themselves.

"The theme…is really focused on that individual reflection," she said. "And really embracing what that means. As college students, that matters."

In order to reach that reflection, the trip is going to be a "technology free zone," so you can stay in the present with hikes and workshops that help build leadership skills.

Valencia said she thinks these activities will help students manage how much they use technology.

"One foundation is to minimize their tech use. Does it add to the experience, or does it detract from the experience?" she asked.

Vanessa Primer, Student Government president, said she's very excited to go on the trip.

"It's a cool idea, 'The Present is a Gift,'" she said.

Primer also said that the event is a great place to learn how to be involved at Highline.

"Each of the sessions is support to guide you down a path of engagement," she said.

As for payment, the trip costs no money if you're accepted. However, Primer said there is one thing you'll want to watch out for unless you want to pay a $50 fine.

"Let's say you accept and now you say 'I don't want to get up in the morning,'" she said. "The only reason you're going to pay something is if you no-show."

Valencia said she wouldn't want people like that on the trip.

"We don't want students that are saying 'maybe,' or are on the fence," she said.

Primer said she realizes the event will be costly to Highline, but she thinks it will be worth it.

"Yes we're making a financial investment, but when they come back, they come back with the tools they need for success," she said, "because knowledge is wealth."

There is an application form with an essay that needs to be turned in before you can be considered to go, however.

"We don't put limits or minimums [on the essay] because it should come from you," Valencia said. "You determine the length."

To be considered for the trip, complete and turn in the application form and essay found at the CLS front desk on the third floor of Building 8 by Monday, Dec. 4 at 4 p.m.

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