January 3rd was a cold day in Fairview, TN this year (thirty miles southwest of Nashville); nevertheless, twenty of our great Fraternity’s leaders traveled across the nation and just around the corner to join the Central Office Staff and I in chilly Fairview, TN. Some came from sunny California, while some welcomed what this southerner calls cold as they escape negative temperatures in Minnesota. This was the first of the Mid-Year Leadership Retreat, and I think anyone on the staff would be telling you a fib if they said we weren’t slightly nervous about what the participants would think about this Retreat.
Jordan Fiasca Ι ’11 – Position: #1
I would be lying if I were to say that I was excited about the Mid-Year Leadership Conference before my arrival. I left sunny California, 30 brothers, and the Rose Bowl behind for two nights in cabins with strangers (on second thought, I was somewhat relieved to leave the Rose Bowl in the rear view). However, I found this conference not only helpful and informative, but fun. The setting, coupled with the small team activities of 7-10 Brothers, really allowed us to build a relationship and discuss issues, both related and unrelated to Chi Psi, in a deep and meaningful manner. I have been serving as the #1 at Alpha Iota since early May, and yet I was able to gain as much from the thoughts, ideas, and solutions raised by other Alphas as were the new #1’s. This conference is not only helpful, but essential for every Alpha, regardless of size, standing, or situation. I recommend it highly to all those who are able to attend it next year, and I hope to be able to attend voluntarily next year if at all possible.
Josh Price ΡΔ ’12 – Position: #1
Being the #1 of an Alpha of Chi Psi Fraternity comes with a substantial amount of responsibilities, liabilities but most importantly opportunities. One of the most rewarding opportunities that a #1 can experience is meeting with fellow #1’s for the betterment of Chi Psi both within their individual Alphas and Chi Psi Fraternity on a national level.
The first annual Mid-Year Leadership retreat hosted at Camp Marymount, Tennessee was geared toward providing the #1 with the necessary skills, information and connections they would need to succeed. The three day retreat focused on topics such as: the Alpha’s finances, management strategies, leadership styles and the program for excellence to name a few. Each of these topics started with a brief presentation by the central office staff and then a break out group which focused on interaction among the various Alpha leaders.
I have participated in 2 Mid-West Regional Conferences, a convention, AMR, ERA’s and several other programs offered by CO. All of these events pale in comparison to the Mid-Year Leadership Retreat. I walked away with the tools, skills, relationships but most importantly the motivation to lead my Alpha to a successful year in 2011. I highly encourage every #1 or Brother interested in holding a leadership position to take the time to attend the retreat, you will not regret it.
Josh Price ΡΔ ’12
Each participant received something different from the retreat. One participant highlighted below the relationships he built with his fellow brothers and the future cultivation of these relationships; further demonstrating that relationships fostered by Chi Psi not only transcends time but blatantly ignores distance and reaches across a nation.
Jon Boos Ξ ’11 – Posistion: #1
“The man sat, thinking to himself, ‘Lord, please don’t let them toss my magic blue fridge…’ Then he looked out the window of the airplane and wouldn’t you know it – there it went…” The joke’s punch line was delivered with a dryness that rivaled even that of the leaves we used to stoke the campfire that night. The mood around the fire immediately shifted. Save for the crackling sound Derek identified as exploding termites, the cold Tennessee air hung completely silent for what seemed an eternity.
No one laughed, and it wasn’t even Derek’s first joke about magic that night. For those reasons, the verdict was unanimous and Derek was barred from telling any more stories that night. Though his joke was regarded widely as a flop, he absolutely redeemed himself with another one later in the night.
That joke set the bar for the next joke, which set the bar for the next one and so on ad infinitum. Nothing that night had me laughing harder than Jon Moore’s myriad impressions on the porch, and nothing was more memorable than Jordan’s story about his triple misfire. By this second night of our Midyear Leadership Retreat, each of the Chi Psi’s on site knew each other on a “one name” basis. I would say “first name” basis, but that would exclude some pretty decent guys like Howell, Dillard, Silchuck, and of course, “Sextonja.”
The itinerary for the retreat filled almost two full typed pages and I thought that one more 7 AM wake-up would be the death of me, but somehow the ideas and creativity that came out of these new friends motivated me to stay awake for the last activity both nights, known as “Fireside,” which started no earlier than 9 PM. Of course the retreat was very useful for developing leadership and motivation techniques, but the most memorable part was undoubtedly the relationships that were created and I very much look forward to visiting my new friends at their respective Alphas.
Jon Boos Ξ ’11
January 5th was a snowy, wet day in Fairview, TN. As we all sat together enjoying our Chicken Soft Tacos (Thank you Mrs. Gale!) we knew that soon flights would be boarded and bags would be checked as we would all traverse back to our respective Lodges. Goodbyes were said, reluctantly, but with hopes of Regional Conference Reunions and Convention “Get Togethers”. The Mid-Year Leadership Retreat was coming to a close and it was very evident to all it was a success. With our Alpha’s Leaders returning to their Alphas armed with the tools and knowledge to grow Chi Psi both locally and nationally. Reassured by the fact that they are not alone in their attempt to lead an Alpha, they anxiously await the start of the school year and, just as I, are counting down the days till the next Mid-Year Leadership Retreat.
Derek Taylor ΠΔ ‘09