By: Jennifer Alford-Teaster (LNH '20)
The two-day experiential learning retreat allowed us to move relatively quickly past careful exchanges between strangers to engaging as a connected community. The unique retreat format facilitated rich discussions about what our greatest aspirations are for the program and how we will actualize those aspirations to advance NH communities. Specifically, we were coached to think deeply about who we are, the power in our personal and shared experiences, as well as how we define our communities and then how we will engage together throughout the year and beyond.
Some of the most dominant themes from our group included the genuine and earnest desire to learn from each other. Recognizing the uniqueness of the cohort and the variety of subject matter expertise the group found these characteristics a source of great excitement for the year ahead. All of us are thrilled and honored to be working so closely with such talented people in NH that we would likely not interact with outside of our areas of expertise. This exposure, the heartfelt curiosity, will lead to a deeper understanding of the tapestry that makes NH so wonderful to live and work.
Additionally, this group repeatedly demonstrated a strong desire to be present, engaged, and dedicated to helping one another. Throughout our team building exercises, you would see LNH team members ready and excited to contribute to solving problems, advancing each other’s capacity, and providing a supportive environment for discovery and engagement. We never felt short of enthusiastic volunteers for any task – whether it be to initiate activities, clean up after each meal, leading a walk in our free time, offering reflective insights, scribes for group work, or leading in a moment of gratitude before mealtime. Whatever the task, the LNH class of 2020 is eager and willing to meet the need.
What this experience taught me is that we are a community of passionate leaders threaded together by a strong commitment to the state of NH- and now to one another. Truly a reflection of the spirit of Leadership NH to learn, connect, and serve – this retreat laid a strong foundation to cultivate these relationships for the enrichment of our communities across the Granite State. Here’s to a great year!