Cardinal Crew Rules With Help Of Retreat

For the second year in a row the York College Cardinal Crew, a large group of students who promote school spirit and leadership skills, went on retreat.

In the picturesque setting of White Haven, Pennsylvania, the group was led through various exercises intended to develop team confidence, team spirit, trust and shared responsibility.

“We learned how to work together and strategize,” said Aderonke Adebayo, a sophomore majoring in Psychology, who admits she wanted to transfer out of York until she joined the Cardinal Crew and realized York was the right fit for her.

Accompanied by Michel Hodge, acting vice president for Enrollment Management, Brunilda Almodovar, director of the Scholarship Office, Larese Miller, director, Project Management Office, Jessica Cherry, assistant director of Athletics and Dr. Tanya Prewitt, assistant professor of Health and Movement Science, the students were also greeted by Dr. Geneva Walker Johnson, incoming vice president for Student Development.

“This retreat was about discovering their behavioral traits, learning about teamwork and making a commitment to the group and its planned activities,” said Hodge.   “I wanted them to come away from the retreat with a greater sense of being part of the Cardinal Crew community and as a part of that community they would be ready to serve the larger York community.”

And the consensus among students is that it worked.

“I learned that you shouldn’t take on all the responsibility yourself,” said Nicole Rajaram, a junior majoring in Movement Science. “It was a great experience learning to get along with people and just trusting one another. You have to have faith in everyone else on the team. Your plan benefits from the opinion of others.”

Alex Chetram, a senior majoring in Aviation Management agrees.

“We did a lot of team building exercises and brainstormed on how to make York better,” said Chetram. “If you need help just ask someone. It helps you to break down walls.”

Among the trust-building exercises were the blind-folded walkers who had to rely on the instructions of their companions to direct their path without physical assistance. This exercise, they say, not only helps to develop trust, but the skills of listening attentively and following directions. Groups of 14 also had to trust their partners to catch them from a falling position. 

Equally important to the students were the labels attached to their foreheads with instructions such as, “ignore me,” “interrupt me,” “disagree with me” and “smile at me.” No participant knew what his or her label said until the activity was over and they were able to take off the label and read it. And according to Ammiscia Christopher, a senior majoring in Marketing, she was unknowingly wearing the “interrupt me” label so when her group mates started to disagree with her every idea she was baffled. 

“I was wondering why they kept disagreeing with me,” she said, chuckling at the memory. “I thought some of my ideas were good, so I didn’t know why they were disagreeing with every thing.”

For Estefani Chimbo, now going into her sophomore year, the workshops were pivotal. They learned “active listening,” and dispelled ethnic stereotyping using the metaphor of the iceberg; because one can only see a small part of an iceberg above the surface of the water; but beneath the surface there is a whole lot more.

“In the end everyone was closer,” said Chimbo, a Business Management major.

For Jessica Cherry, who holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees in physical education with emphasis in sports medicine, the students’ enthusiasm was also key to the success of the retreat.

“They brought so much energy to it; and so did the facilitators,” she said. “We have to set the tone and we did and they bought into it.”

Cardinal Crew members are easily identified throughout the campus by their York shirts and are willing to be of assistance to new and veteran students where possible. Meanwhile, all members of the campus community are invited to attend any number of events during the Week of Welcome (WOW) from September 10th through the 15th.

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