2019 Eccles School Zion Leadership Retreat

The thought of bussing 300 college students down to Zion National Park for the weekend actually sounds insane, but if there’s one program that can pull it off, it’s Business Scholars — and they did exactly that. This spring, Business Scholars hosted their annual Zion Leadership Retreat right in the heart of one of Utah’s most beautiful natural sites. To no surprise, it was a huge success, and I am excited to share my experience with all of you.

Day 1:

After a four-hour bus ride full of watching movies and singing along to Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver, we finally arrived at our hotel. To our surprise, the directors had planned a luau for dinner that night, in which they really outdid themselves. We had the full performance: luau dancers, fire throwers, and the BEST Hawaiian barbecue I’ve ever had. They served us a traditional Hawaiian dish including kalua pork, chicken, rice, and macaroni salad! It was ironic because it was 38 degrees outside and we were having a luau, but it made the cold that much more bearable. After the luau, students enjoyed free-time where they could play games, watch movies, and hang out with friends.

Day 2:

The second day in Zion was packed full of speakers, hiking, eating, and my favorite part … dancing! We woke up bright and early to hear from our Dean Taylor Randall. Other notable speakers discussed the importance of building character and leadership within the workplace. After that, we laced up our hiking boots and were sent on our way to explore. Due to the rainy weather, some of the trails were closed, so a group of us decided to hike Emerald Pools. This was a power move because there was so much water rolling off of the mountain, it was gorgeous! Usually, the waterfall isn’t very impressive in the spring and summer due to the lack of rain, but since it was raining that weekend, it was breathtaking! After a long day of hiking and taking pics for the gram, we finally headed back for dinner. The program hooked it up with a delicious buffet at The Switchback Grill. Following the dinner was the most exciting part of the whole weekend … the dance party. It sounds silly for college students but as a program, we know how to get down. I left my soul on the dance floor that night. We jumped so much that my calves were sore FOR DAYS!

Day 3:

The morning following the dance party included a well-deserved breakfast buffet. Shout out to the Springhill Suites in Springdale for feeding the mouths of broke college students with delicious waffles. We were then ushered into our final speakers series of the Leadership Retreat. I really enjoyed this day because we got to hear from Andrea Thomas, our program director. She’s an incredible, inspiring woman and spoke about her path to success through Walmart, Hershey, and Pepsico. Another amazing speaker we got the honor to listen to was Rich Kaufusi, who is one of our directors for Opportunity Scholars and the Office for Student Inclusion. Fitting the Hawaiian theme, he discussed what it means to demonstrate aloha leadership through empathy and compassion. His final remarks were a perfect closing to the weekend, and before we knew it, we were being bussed back to Salt Lake City.

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