61 student-athletes had the opportunity to take a step away from athletics and academics to experience the Wolstein Leadership Academy (Aug. 15-17) at Camp Damascus in Centerburg, Ohio. With the help of 18 members of the Ohio State Athletics Department, Buckeyes across all different sports dove into a personal leadership journey with a ton of fun and new friendships mixed in along the way. Here’s a look at their day-to-day experiences.
All the student-athletes rolled up to the campground on Wednesday afternoon and were immediately thrown into a few hilarious icebreaker activities for the opening session. After plenty of laughs and some competitive challenges each group split off to set goals and expectations and get to know one another on a better level. Everyone also participated in a DISC assessment to define individual personality strengths and weaknesses, as well as gain a better understanding of how to best work with people who have different personality traits.
After the DISC assessment the group headed to dinner and got hyped for an action-filled evening. Groups split up to take on the high ropes course, low ropes course or paintball. Throughout each activity, the athletes were taught core leadership values: attitude and motivation, trust and communication, and team building. The groups instinctively applied each value during the activity, then reflected on how he or she will apply that value to real life situations with their sport, their academics and their future careers. To wrap up Wednesday, everyone met at the beach to play a floating obstacle course and take on the first Wolstein Challenge! The day ended with time to chill and decompress… and of course campfire smores.
Day two kicked off with a great breakfast provided by the wonderful staff at Camp Damascus, followed by a wacky ice breaker challenge and an interactive speech from sports psychologist Dr. Steve Graef. For the rest of the day teams paired up to take on different activities around the grounds followed by a reflection of how to most effectively communicate and the importance of listening.
After dinner it was time for the Wolstein Challenge! The student-athletes showed off their competitive nature and jumped (literally and theoretically) into various teamwork based challenges. Ranging from paddle boarding to puzzle solving. The teams Buckeyes worked together and conquered each event! Everyone capped off the long, but extremely fun, day with pizza, games and a campfire.
Before heading back to Columbus to begin a new school year the student-athletes reflected on the specifics of what they learned from each activity, speaker and group discussions:
Paintball: Staying as a unit is essential.
Values: It’s important to know your own specific values as well as your team’s values.
Communication: The key for success. It’s a two way street: not just talking, also listening. It’s sent and received. Communication= trust and teamwork. A message not heard is a message not delivered.
Change: Understand others backgrounds and the specific reasons that drive people.
Conflict Management: Hear perspectives from others. Learning about others personalities helps solve conflicts. Discuss conflicts with another team/larger group and hear others ideas. Utilize DISC to help resolve the conflict to make it easiest for all parties.
High Ropes: Need to physically and emotionally lean on each other to make it through. Be vulnerable and trust each other. Learn from each other’s mistakes.
Wolstein Challenge: Use communication, trust and openness to try new things. Support each other. By the end everyone had a full trust in all of their team members. Utilize differences and strengths, face your fears, step out of your comfort zone.
Goal Setting: It’s important to have one unifying big picture and set smaller more specific goals on the way.
Motivation: It’s different for every person, but it’s almost always overlapping.
Low Ropes: Communication, knowing others strengths, using failure as a motivator to get better. Sticking to a plan, having different roles (leaders and followers), and staying focused to things to the best of your ability.
DISC: The Platinum Rule: Treat others how they want to be treated. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses and knowing your peers and teammates.
Allison Abramski (Rowing), Ahmed Al-Tayeb (Men’s Fencing), Genevieve Angerame (Diving), Divya Batchu (Rowing), Brianna Betschel (Softball), Michayla Binkley (Rowing), Kevin Blackwood (Men’s Soccer), Kaitlyn Carboun (Synchronized Swimming), Michael Chan (Men’s Gymnastics), Megan Choinacky (Softball), Taylor Coalter (Rowing), Phoebe Coffin (Synchronized Swimming), Charly Dahlquist (Women’s Ice Hockey), Taylor DeLoach (Women’s Track), Rachel DeWitte (Rowing), Natalia Falkowski (Women’s Fencing), Andi Farrah (Softball), Lillian Flinders (Rowing), Rebecca Freiburger (Women’s Ice Hockey), Maddie Frendberg (Rowing), Nicole Fye (Swimming and Diving), Carley Gaskill (Softball), Sarah George (Women’s Lacrosse), Nick Gray (Men’s Track), Lena Harper (Rowing), Dominic Harry (Swimming and Diving), Liza Hernandez (Women’s Lacrosse), Terry Johnson (Men’s Track), Marianne Kahmann (Swimming and Diving), Domenik Koch (Men’s Fencing), Kalvin Koethke (Swimming and Diving), Dylan Koontz (Wrestling), Olivia Kwiecinski (Rowing), Ashtyn Ley (Rowing), Morgan Lowe (Women’s Gymnastics), Carli Mager (Women’s Lacrosse), Anthony McCollum (Pistol), Bernard Melus (Pistol), Jaclen Moxley (Women’s Lacrosse), Emily Nothnagle (Pistol), Robby Oswald (Men’s Track), Paige Postalwait (Women’s Lacrosse), Morgan Ray (Softball), Jacyn Reeves (Women’s Ice Hockey), Julia Rizk (Women’s Track), Jillian Rizzo (Women’s Lacrosse), Fritz Schierl (Wrestling), Rachel Serafy (Rowing), Emily Skrzypczak (Women’s Lacrosse), Olivia Small (Women’s Track), Olivia Soares (Women’s Ice Hockey), Bliss Soleyn (Women’s Track), Renee Stehlik (Synchronized Swimming), Jenna Swartzentruber (Women’s Gymnastics), Sanil Thomas (Men’s Volleyball), Katie Trace (Swimming and Diving), Ryan Wagner (Swimming and Diving), Sarah Walsh (Synchronized Swimming), Karrington Winters (Women’s Track), Noah Worobetz (Swimming and Diving).