Thirty-nine youth leaders from nine local middle and high schools came together to collaborate, team build, reflect on successes and challenges, and further develop their leadership skills at the annual Hands4Hope Mid-Year Retreats.
On February 2nd, high school leaders gathered and, with a theme of philanthropy and entrepreneurship, welcomed guest speaker Dave Morris, who spoke to the group about his business Hope & Henry. Hope & Henry is a clothing company which manufactures high quality affordable clothing made with organic responsibly farmed cotton and fairly compensated labor. Leaders were able to hear the powerful story of how the Hope & Henry founder made the decision to incorporate his personal and philanthropic values into an entrepreneurial opportunity. Additionally, high school club and committee leaders met in their leadership teams to review and evaluate the first half of the year, as well as collaborate across schools and committees to design strategies to keep participants engaged for the remainder of the year. The retreat was successful and received positive reviews from participants, one sharing “It is always helpful to sit down with our team and discuss improvements, also it is good for all of us to bounce ideas off each other and share strategies to solve problems that we may all have in common”.
On February 23rd, three Hands4Hope high school leaders who act as middle school mentors facilitated a half day retreat for 20 middle school leaders. The mentors divided the retreat into several workshops designed to allow the middle school leaders to reflect on their successes and challenges, evaluate their team collaborations, and hone their meeting facilitation skills. One student commented on how easy it will be to put the practical information to use, “I got a lot of good ideas on how to better organize and engage club members.” In addition, the group played games, enjoyed a team building lunch, and set goals for the second half of the year.