A ‘challenging’ start for new Roan Scholars

Carvers GapArriving on campus two weeks before the official start of the fall semester, the newest class of Roan Scholars didn't know quite what to expect during the annual "Roan Outdoor Leadership Challenge." After their first activity, even though they hadn't even left campus yet, it was clear that they were in for a demanding and exciting week of leader development, team building, and learning about themselves.

Designed to push the freshman Scholars physically, mentally, and emotionally, this year's Outdoor Leadership Challenge took the Scholars to various wilderness locations in NC and TN, where they participated in a variety of activities, including canoeing, zip-lining, camping, and hiking. Each day, the Scholars learned more about their own strengths and weaknesses, and faced opportunities to expand their own comfort zone by stretching beyond their normal limits. To succeed, they had to work with others in the group to solve problems, and learn to lead within a group of leaders – all the while developing confidence in their growing skills, knowledge, and abilities.

"It's hard for me to pick one thing as the 'most' memorable because I'll never forget any of the trip," wrote Millie Robinson (Johnson City, TN) as part of a post-Challenge assessment. "All aspects of the trip were demanding on some level, but the entire trip was beneficial to me and my fellow Scholars. Every difficult part was well worth it."

During a feedback session after the Challenge, James Grindstaff Elizabethton, TN, talked about the value of working with others to overcome obstacles, instead of trying to tackle them alone; while Carlee Haas Chuckey, TN, also mentioned the importance of teamwork, highlighting effective communications as a critical, but sometimes difficult, element of that teamwork.

Now a close-knit group with some new-found skills, a growing confidence, and lots of terrific memories from the time they spent together overcoming the 'Challenge,' this year's Roan freshman class is ready for a great first year at ETSU!