On Friday April 7th, nearly 120 Take the Lead Team Captains ventured to Allstate Insurance’s headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois, for the fourth retreat of this year’s season. Team Captains were greeted by Allstate volunteers and began the day with a delicious, healthy breakfast.
Following breakfast and hearing a few opening remarks by Allstate and UI staff, the Team Captains broke into two groups. The first group went outside and experienced a brisk early spring day. Volunteers coached and played alongside the students in games of soccer, gaga ball, and team handball. Competition was exciting with plenty of examples of good sportsmanship and teamwork.
Meanwhile, the second group was treated to a variety of games and activities in one of Allstate’s conference rooms. Captains put on their engineering caps and vied against one another to build the tallest freestanding popsicle stick towers, expressed themselves artistically by creating vision boards showing what they want their futures to be, communicated to each other with rousing games of charades, and more. Allstate volunteers adopted teams within the group and bonded with them through every activity, providing valuable coaching and experience. The themes of the retreat were conflict resolution and task persistence, and the Team Captains and volunteers discussed this topic as they rotated through the activity stations.
At noon the two groups came back together and were treated to lunch. During this time, UI Co-Founder and Executive Director Jim Dower led a panel discussion featuring Miguel Edwards (Vice President of Strategy and Operations), Stephanie Neely (Vice President and Assistant Treasurer), and John Rugel (Senior Vice President of Life Underwriting and Claims). The Allstate speakers recounted their own life stories that led them to Allstate, past successes and failures, conflict resolution strategies, and how they stay motivated when things don’t go their way. Team Captains were then given the chance to ask the panel questions.
The two groups then switched activities after lunch, the first group participating in the indoor activities and the second group heading outside for an afternoon of play. Despite the early start time, some students having gotten up before 7am, effort and energy were still in high quantity for both groups as the afternoon progressed. At 2pm, the Team Captains were dismissed and returned to their communities, having taken one step closer to becoming Chicago’s next generation of leaders.
Urban Initiatives would like to thank our amazing host, Allstate Insurance Company, and their amazing team. We share Allstate’s belief that good starts young, and their commitment to communities in evident in how they generously opened their offices to our students. The retreat would not have been nearly as successful and beneficial to our students as it was without their amazing space and engaged volunteers. We are very appreciative of Allstate’s support of Urban Initiatives throughout our organization’s history, and we look forward to working with them again.