Futures Quest 2014

Over the winter break, the Rho chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon sent two of its members to Futures Quest, a leadership and team building workshop in Indiana. Here is chapter president Brett Lederer’s reflection:

 

“Flying out to Indianapolis on a crisp January morning, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I was about to fly into a place on the verge of being hit with a historic snowstorm and low temperatures that I had never thought possible.  I didn’t know what to expect and the impact this conference would have on my fraternity and myself as a leader.  However, by the time the weekend had ended and I graduated the program, I gained an invaluable experience that I will carry with me throughout my time at Lafayette and the rest of my life.

One of the main lessons the mentors of Futures Quest instilled into us is the importance of our rituals.  They stressed the idea that rituals are not just practices we do in secret a couple of times each year.  They are values that our fraternity was founded on.  We need to live our rituals every single day as fraternity men.  The mentors challenged us to think back to what our founding fathers built the organization on.  Without these rituals, we would be just a social group rather than a strong fraternity.

We were also challenged to look inward to ourselves as leaders.  By creating lists of our values and taking part in various activities such as trust falls, we were asked to decide what kind of leaders we would be.  On the first night, the group watched the movie ’12 Angry Men’.  The lesson from the film was that it’s important to stand up for what you believe in.  Regardless of what the majority says, it is pivotal for a fraternity to make decisions based only on its values.

The following day, the snow began to fall and did so all day and throughout the night.  Many of the activities that were supposed to be done outside had to be either cancelled or moved indoors. Despite these conditions, we turned them into challenges that we overcame.  We learned that being a leader started with trusting the people around you.  We learned this through climbing a huge rock wall while blindfolded.  Despite not being able to see what was ahead, the climber knew that the people down below were walking him through it each step of the way.  This taught us that although we don’t know what lies ahead, we know that we are part of a brotherhood that supports us.

This ties into another value that the mentors of Futures Quest emphasized to us.  They told us to look around and realize that despite the fact that we all came from different fraternities, we were all the same.  Greek Life as a whole is a brotherhood.  With only four fraternities left on campus, this idea could not be more important at Lafayette.

As a leader of my fraternity and a member of Lafayette’s Greek Life I know that we are currently trying to improve our standards on campus.  After taking part in Futures Quest, I believe that I can take what I learned and bring that back to better our Greek community.  If we stick to our values and trust in the people around us, then we will continue to flourish as leaders on campus.  I want to thank Jon Williamson and the rest of the Futures Quest staff for the incredible experience they afforded me.”

 

Here is brother Kevin McAndrew’s reflection on his experience at Futures Quest:

 

“The John Williamson Futures Quest was quite an experience.  Located at Camp Tecumseh, about 70 miles outside of the city of Indianapolis, this program does its best to create an isolated space clear of distractions, generating a fantastic environment for personal reflection.  Each day, the team building activities and group discussions that I participated in taught me lessons that I feel improved my leadership ability and could improve the entire Rho Chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon as well.  With representatives from many different fraternities across the country, I received a diverse education.  Though geographically disconnected, we saw the common fraternal values we shared and ended up becoming very close by the end of the program.

Futures Quest began with some icebreakers, making everyone a little more comfortable with each other.  Then things jumped immediately into team challenges.  These activities required every member to execute their part or else the entire team effort would go to waste.  Though at the time I did not realize it, each team activity directly correlated to a fraternity.  Like a fraternity, these teambuilding games required good communication, encouragement, and vision.  In order to achieve the goal, the entire group needed to be involved and fully aware of what we were trying to accomplish.  At Lafayette, the goals we set as a chapter require the same traits.  With strong leadership and every brother giving his best effort, I have no doubt that we will make the changes that will lead to the overall chapter improvement that we want to see in the future.

Later that day, we discussed strategies for becoming a better leader and standing up for what you believe in.  As a leader, you need to stand strong by your beliefs; however, you also need to accept the opinions of those around you if they are different than yours.  Many times when someone takes on a leadership role, they are overbearing. IMG_6673  They have devised their own plan and expect the scheme to be carried out exactly in the image that they have imagined.  That should not be the case.  Anytime a group gets together, each member needs to have their input heard.  It is very common for someone to be too afraid to give their opinion if that means they are going to be the only one in the group to object to something that has already been decided.  Sometimes that one person’s outlook could be the difference between a project’s success and failure.

By the end of this program, I am confident that I became a better leader and can bring some new ideas to improve my chapter and the Greek community.  Futures Quest made me think differently.  For years I had the same leadership strategies; but after graduating from this program, the flaws and strengths of my beliefs were exposed.  In anything we do, teamwork is key.  At Lafayette, every Greek organization can benefit from each other if we work together as a team.”

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