Reflections on the ECAASU Fall Retreat

Ivan Yeung, ECAASU's Development Intern shares his reflections and insight from the ECAASU Fall Retreat in NYC on September 8, 2012.

 I arrived at an unfamiliar apartment in New York City excited to escape the rain and nervous to enter my first ECAASU retreat. I had butterflies in my stomach but after working remotely as the National Development Team Intern for the past 3 months, I've come to develop an elated excitement to finally put faces to the names labeled across the emails I've sent, received and replied. Entering the apartment, slightly drenched by the torrential downpour outside, I was greeted by a living room filled with who I knew later to be members of the ECAASU board.
       Each one seemed to have a different levels of familiarity with other members but friendliness emanated from each of their faces. After participating in a familiar set of introductions that I thought I escaped when I graduated from college, I can begin to see how close knit most of the members are. Honestly I was a little timid during introductions but as the day progressed, I became more and more comfortable with everyone. We started our PowerPoint presentations shortly after icebreakers, which were informative and gave me a better idea of ECAASU's history, as well as, the personalities of the National Board members. My favorite presentation of the day was the Sensitivity Training we received.
        Our work as single entities reflect the name of ECAASU no matter what the intentions have. By going through this training, I can see how select words can change the perspective of an opinion to reflect an entire organization rathering than just reflecting that of a single person's. Nicole had a definite grasp and expertise in this topic, which entwined with her passion for us as a board to achieve positive growth was helpful in me being more attentive of my future word choices.
Lunch was a great time for me to meet and get to know everyone. The members are great individuals with very unique personalities. It was fun to sit down and have a meal casually with them. Afterwards we moved to our other location to finish the other half of the retreat.
        This was my first experience of how passionate these members were about their projects and the success of other ECAASU projects. Calvin's speech in the beginning really set the tone for a good rest of the day. I was very impressed with the ideas of each group and am especially interested in working on Ray's Mentor program. I think a mentor program for any club or organizations is vital for the growth of younger members and brings a better philanthropic initiative to the group.
         I was exceptionally nervous about presenting the Development Team's progress to everyone. Being the least experienced of the group, I was honored to have the role of presenting and luckily Melinda and Shayra made the presentation easier with a very-detailed PowerPoint. I gained a better understanding of all of ECAASU projects but more importantly the teamwork within ECAASU as a whole. Before I believed the teams we're very disjointed but after listening to the presentations and observing the interactions between the members, I can see why ECAASU, as a whole, continues to grow and excel each year since inception.
         The retreat's true highlight came after the end of work aspect. After a strenuous day, I welcomed the time of unwinding with all the members. It was an exceptionally fun experience grabbing dinner and just enjoying ourselves like we were age old friends. If I had one word to describe the entire day, it would be invigorating. This one day seemed like my initiation into the ECAASU team and motivating me to keep helping Development and ECAASU grow bigger and better. Can't wait till Columbia Conference!