Colorado Leadership Trip Encourages Students to Grow Their Leadership Skills
by Jordan Grooters (B.A. ’17)
During June 10 to 16, 11 Cornerstone University student leaders representing areas such as athletics, community life, Terra Firma, CUSO, admissions and chapel leadership traveled to Buena Vista, Colo., along with Chip Huber, associate vice president of student development, and Ian Grotenhuis, associate director of campus engagement and student leadership.
Huber and Grotenhuis were joined in this effort by Chuck Cichowitz, owner and operator of Noah's Ark Whitewater Rafting & Adventure Co., and Adeline Brown, adventure program director for Noah's Ark.
The leadership trip aimed to develop leaders from across campus and to grow their leadership skills as well as their understanding of what it means to be a leader. The team from Cornerstone was able to partner with Noah's Ark in order to encourage students to focus on leadership development while participating in activities such as whitewater rafting down the Arkansas River, navigating a high ropes course at Browns Adventure Canyon and spending three days hiking.
"The physical setting is incredible and creates remarkable experiential learning opportunities," Huber said. "Noah's Ark staff members are incredible peer and mentor role models for our students and invest deeply in their lives during the trip. They embrace the idea of partnering educationally and make room for our leadership curriculum teaching and discussions that happened for extended periods of time daily on the trip."
Huber and Grotenhuis led the leadership course, focusing on two overarching goals: to develop students as Christian leaders on an individual level and to develop a community of leaders at Cornerstone who would feel empowered to go back to campus and collaborate with each other to make the campus better.
"Coming off this trip, students understand some of the leadership principles in a new light as we had a chance to focus on topics like character, vision, service and empowerment," Grotenhuis shared. "My hope is that students take what they have learned, apply it to their lives and then equip others to do the same."
"You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know." —René Daumal
Trip participant Anna Madison (B.A. ’20), a child and adolescent psychology major, shared, "I'm learning that leadership requires a vision, one that can be communicated to those listening to them. I learned that a leader—although not always thought of this way—is a servant to those around them, and to lead well, you must have a spirit of humility."
Kevin Slowik (B.S. ’20), an exercise science major, said, "I grew personally and spiritually in Colorado in a lot of ways. One of the ways were the life stories. Sharing them was hard and some stories were hard to listen to because they were sad. But, through these stories, I learned that it is important for Christians to be vulnerable with each other. Also, the one-on-one time with God in the mountains was perfect. I needed that. It sparked a flame inside me that needed to be sparked a long time ago. This time was crucial to my growth spiritually and personally."
Cornerstone seeks to empower men and women to excel as influencers in our world for Christ by offering a student-focused learning community where Jesus Christ is central. We encourage you to pray for these students as they enter into a new semester and have the opportunity to lead other students and influence the world for Christ.
Cornerstone University is a Christ-centered university with a passion for global influence through the transforming power of the gospel. As an interdenominational institution located in Grand Rapids, Mich., Cornerstone offers traditional undergraduate programs as well as adult undergraduate and graduate programs through the Professional & Graduate Studies division, Grand Rapids Theological Seminary and Asia Biblical Theological Seminary.