It is a known fact that here at Springfield College the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) has had a long and impressive history.
In 1885, the School for Christian Workers was founded at Winchester Square in Springfield, which later became Springfield College, where we continued our great tradition with the YMCA.
Ever since then, we have upheld a YMCA minor, as well as a very active YMCA club here on campus.
Participants in the minor and club are very active, and one of the many events they participate in annually is the Northeast Leaders Rally, better known as Fall Rally.
“Fall Rally is a weekend-long event where teens from around the Northeast gather together to participate in team-building activities, values activities, and outdoor adventures,” explained third-year facilitator Lauren Morency.
Even though the facilitators didn’t have to be part of the minor or club, the majority of the facilitators were due to the affiliation the Rally has with the YMCA.
The weekend-long event took place at Camp Greenhill in Huguenot, N.Y. Roughly 200 teens from different YMCAs around the Northeast participated.
“Each YMCA has a teens’ program, and it’s their team leaders that [went] to this,” first-year facilitator, Bernadette Raum said.
The weekend was filled with many different team-building and confidence-boosting activities.
“We helped facilitate and encourage students to participate in activities such as high ropes courses, carnival games, hikes, survival skills and values activities,” Morency said.
More specifically, the Springfield students worked and helped facilitate a values session.
“This values session [was] meant for the teens to have an opportunity to share their beliefs, ethics, morals and thoughts within a structured group setting,” stated Morency.
The values session was then broken up into different groups with different SC facilitators discussing different things.
“My facilitation group did [things that stress you out] and how to fix them and how to not let them hold you back. Other groups did self-esteem boosters,” Raum said.
Since each facilitator got to share a group with another SC facilitator, the groups ended up being small, which led to the SC students really getting to know their teens on a more personal level.
“I think just bonding with my group, even though it was such a short amount of time [was my favorite part]. You really got to know them, and you really got to understand what they were going through,” Raum said with a smile. “You learn so much about people in such a short amount of time and get so close to them. For me, I just want to see them go on and do better, and I only got to know them for a weekend.”
While the 200 teen participants definitely benefited the most from this past weekend, the 17 facilitators also had the experience of a lifetime.
“This was my first Fall Leaders Rally, because I just got in to [the club and minor],” explained Raum. “It was really good and really exciting. It was kind of like NSO but 10 times more exciting. It’s NSO in a small, confined space, so people don’t care to look weird. It’s where you can let your freak flag fly.”
“I had a truly amazing weekend with an awesome group of Springfield leaders, as well as energetic and motivating teens. Not only did I become more confident in my leadership abilities, but I learned the importance of working as a team and pushing people outside their comfort zones,” Morency said. “In the future, I would encourage anyone who wants to participate in this Fall Rally experience to do so. It is a great opportunity with endless benefits.”