The rain and snow surely did not stop Team Captains from enjoying an engaging day at the Allstate Headquarters in Northbrook this past Friday. Fifth thru eighth graders from all around the city woke up early, embraced the unexpected weather, and brought their energy for a day full of interactive activities.
The fourth Take the Lead Retreat focused on the leadership ideals of commitment and self-control. The Retreat provided the students with the chance to take full advantage of their day off from school to explore the endless possibilities that life after middle school can hold. The students came from 27 different schools, representing 33 different Chicagoland communities.
After a hearty breakfast, and some inspiring remarks from Jeff praising the students’ impressive academic achievements, the group was split for the two activity stations. The first activity station was a speed-dating style rotation, where the Captains were able to gain perspective on different college and career paths currently taken by various Allstate volunteers. The second station was a scavenger hunt around the expansive Allstate headquarters. As they canvassed the campus, the Captains were exposed to the diverse inner workings of a top-tier corporation. The volunteer-led scavenger groups even found their way to the nail salon and barber shop, multimedia center where Allstate commercials are filmed, and the cafe complete with a Starbucks.
Hungry from scavenging and interviewing, the middle schoolers enjoyed a delicious box lunch provided by Allstate, and listened to three senior executives share their unique life experiences. The stories of overcoming challenges through self-control and determination had the Team Captains ready for a competitive team challenge in the afternoon. Things got sticky with the marshmallow challenge, with teams of five students and one volunteer went head to head in constructing the tallest freestanding tower, using only marshmallows and raw spaghetti. Despite not knowing each other previously, the Captains pooled their leadership and teamwork abilities to focus on one goal. And the winning team even took home “Mala Suerte” shirts from Allstate, solidifying their squad.
Urban Initiatives would like to thank Allstate for their generosity and inspiration. The partnership is made even stronger with the determination and passion brought by each and every Take the Lead Team Captain. We wouldn’t mind if the weather was a little more favorable, but all of us here at Urban Initiatives can’t wait for the fifth Take the Lead Retreat on June 11th. Stay tuned for more.