The group of leadership academy attendees pose for a photo.

Photos by Ali Akhbar Khan, Film and Media Production student

It can be easy to get caught up in our everyday lives. Sometimes, taking a step back to hit pause and look at ourselves or appreciate those around us might be exactly what we need.

I recently had the opportunity to attend the sixth annual Humber Leadership Retreat. As one of several programs run through the college’s Leadership Programs, the retreat brings together 45 students across all campuses, programs and backgrounds to travel to Camp Geneva in Orillia. Across a three-day period, participants engage in self-reflection sessions and workshop-style activities helping to develop and foster leadership skills.

Humber Leadership Academy attendees pose for a photo. Currently, I am a postgraduate certificate student studying Public Relations at the Lakeshore campus. Being on a fast-paced, eight-month schedule, my daily interactions are often centred around the needs of my program. Although finding support in my peers starting their professional careers with me in May has been wonderful, I also couldn’t help but want to feel more connected to my campus, my school and other students.

The retreat provided me with this and so much more. What makes this program special is its balance bringing together students across all ages, disciplines and life experiences. You have someone in the room sharing what their first month living in Canada has been like, meanwhile another person is telling you about their decision to switch career paths and head back to school for the first time in years.

Leadership can sometimes be seen as one-dimensional or out of reach for individuals who may not see themselves as being conventional leaders. Witnessing other students celebrate each other’s stories and validate each other’s perspectives helped to build a trusting, inclusive and open environment welcoming for all.

Although we each came in with our own set of strengths and experiences, it was through programming such as assessment of our CliftonStrengths and a team pitch showcase where we embraced our skills to the fullest. Balanced with some fun activities, including nordic skiing and a talent show, we also got to strengthen personal relationships and enhance our unique insights on one another.

Leaving the weekend, there was a sense of family.

I am so lucky to have had this experience with so many diverse, kind and caring individuals who reminded me to always believe in and value myself.