Every student at SMUS is a leader, but each one will have to figure out what kind of leader they will be and how they fit in to our community as a whole.
In boarding, leadership skills are often grown through participation in the house community. Working closely with the Director of Residence and the senior house parents in the running of the houses, all Grade 12 boarders play a role in the leadership of the house and all boarders are expected to be active citizens within the community. This process begins long before Grade 12 and, by the time these students have reached Grade 11, they have begun identifying their strengths and using them to contribute to their house and the wider community.
In the spring term of each year, all Grade 11 students attend leadership training and meetings. For some houses, preparing for Grade 12 might mean an organizational meeting to chart the course for the next year while other houses retreat off campus to reflect and plan.
Recently, Symons House Grade 11 students participated in a day of bonding, team-building and planning at a cabin on Shawnigan Lake. Bolton House Grade 11 students did an overnight camping trip to a secluded island to practice their skills and reflect. A Harvey House tradition is to hike up Mt. Finlayson to get back to nature.
In the next few weeks Timmis, Barnacle and Winslow will follow, all in an effort to set the tone for next year and strengthen their houses.
Here is what Chris Bateman, senior house parent in Bolton, wrote about their retreat:
The Grade 11s of Bolton House were off on the third annual Bolton Leadership retreat. It was the second time the retreat had been an overnight trip.
Travelling by water taxi, the group stayed on a picturesque little island in the beautiful Gulf Islands. With spring flowers in full bloom and raccoons, mink, seals, Canada Geese and many shorebirds as companions, the group bonded through leadership initiatives, discussion, survival skills, cooking and by relaxing around the campfire.
The five practices of leadership that we espouse in the residential curriculum are “model the way”, “inspire a shared vision”, improve the process”, “enable others to act”, and “encourage the heart”. The boys displayed many of these qualities during the trip and I am sure will continue to grow as leaders as they now assume formal house duties.
We woke to a beautiful sunny morning and were treated to a pod of orca whales on our way home. It was a great break from the busy pace of term three and the leadership of the house is set up very well for next year!
Take a look at the video below to get a sense of the Bolton House retreat.