In its third year, the ACE Leadership Retreat offers Western students an opportunity to develop leadership skills that may be applicable at both the university level and in their everyday life.
ACE was started three years ago by Nate Panelo, the previous vice president for activities, as a way for Western students to work with fellow classmates and other advisors and come together to work on expanding their knowledge of leadership and group techniques. The name of the retreat has been a variation of the acronym ACE all three years, in its freshman year the conference was called the All Club Extravaganza. Last year it was Action Collaboration Engagement, current Vice President for Activities Aaron Garcia said.
This year's ACE, or Action Collaboration Empowerment, three-day retreat is coordinated by Garcia, who also heads a committee of approximately eight people who help organize the conference in addition to Garcia. The retreat's emphasis is on club leaders at Western and teaching them new skills. The leaders can then bring that understanding back to their individual clubs, and in turn expand the resources that their clubs have to offer. However, the conference is open to all interested Western students who want to learn more about different leadership skills in a fun and innovative place.
“This is a unique opportunity for a diverse group of students to come and work together,” Garcia said.
Over a three day period students will have a series of workshops focused on a variety of leadership topics, according to last year's information. In addition to the seminars, students have an opportunity to connect with other leaders and classmates during meals and leisure time. There will also be several keynote speakers to present on a variety of topics throughout the conference, based on the same information.
According to this year's registration form, some of the different topics that will be covered in the workshops are Club Revival, Controversy Conflict, Leadership Development, Turn Volunteers into Leaders, and How to Prevent a Burnout.
The conference this year will be held Jan. 25-27, 2008 at Ford Worden State Park Conference Center, Garcia said. According to the registration form, the cost of the retreat is $25, down from $30 the previous year. The fee covers six meals, two nights lodging, all of the workshops and a t-shirt. In order to raise awareness about the conference, after winter break the conference planners will be presenting more information in various classes throughout Western to engage more students.
Last year's workshop drew approximately 75 people, about 20 of which were speakers and presenters. This year Garcia said he is planning on expecting to have 80 people participate, around 20 will again be the various speakers. At this point, the ultimate list of presenters has not been finalized. However, Garcia said that a variety of students, student Lifestyle Advisors, speakers, and Leadership Development Specialist Joanne DeMark, who works in the Student Life department, will be partaking in the conference.