Take the Lead’s third retreat, focused on task persistence and time management was really something to see. The key to this retreat, was to prepare our team captains for High School. High School is on all of our Team Captain’s minds, so for them to be able to see Morgan Park High School and everything that goes on there, was huge for their confidence. Coach Berger, a long-time OSPD at Reavis Math & Science, now the athletic director there and the rest of the Morgan Park staff were awesome hosts.
Team Captains got to play soccer in the main gym, go on a tour of the school, explore their hopes and fears about High School, and get introduced to their service learning project. One of our Team Captains expressed his hopes to play a sport in High School. On the other hand, he has fears that he will not be able to make any of the sports teams. As we walked through the hallways of Morgan Park High School, it became clear to our Team Captains that high school has a lot more to offer than sports. If he makes a sports team, then that’s great! If not, High Schools have an endless amount of clubs and after school programs that students can join and expand their knowledge. We also had a couple special guest speakers during the retreat. Carolyn Epps, who is the principal at Morgan Park, was kind enough speak some words of encouragement to the kids and Coach Berger also took time out of his busy schedule to come and speak to the kids. As Coach Berger spoke about the academic responsibilities of a high school athlete, captains took notice, particularly at a school like Morgan Park with many state championships to its name. To be an Urban Initiatives Team Captain, students must do well in the classroom; the same goes for high school.
One of the best activities of the day, was our introduction to the service learning project. Team Captains from all across Chicago sat down and brainstormed ideas of how to make their neighborhood a better place. At first, we had Team Captains pinpoint on a map of Chicago exactly where they live. When students were done pointing out where they live, it was clear to see that our captains come from every corner of the city! Captains spoke about the troubles that go on in their neighborhood, but they also spoke on what they love most about their neighborhood. To make a change, you must be willing to step into the unknown. Improvement may not happen overnight, but we want our captains to know that it starts with them. Whether it is picking up garbage on the side of the road, or helping out another student in school, Team Captains can make that difference.
Overall, our third retreat was a huge success. Thanks to Morgan Park and UI MVP, Coach Berger for hosting such an amazing event. We look forward to partnering with them again in the future.