After completing their spring semester finals, our newly appointed class of Snyder Fellows joined the rest of our team for our annual two-day May retreat. We began our retreat the best way we know how– with coffee, donuts, and introductions as the 40 Fellows arrived at the K-State Honors House on May 17th. Once everyone had time to check in and get settled into their rooms, we transitioned into some engaging warmup activities facilitated by Dr. Mike Finnegan and Tamara Bauer to help set the tone for the retreat.
For the afternoon session, the Fellows proceeded to Bramlage Coliseum to hear a bit more about the program, and what was in store for the rest of their time together. Dr. Mary Tolar, Director of the Staley School of Leadership Studies, welcomed students as they arrived, and introduced the first guest speaker, Dr. Bob Shoop, Staley School co-founder. Dr. Shoop provided some valuable history behind the school, while also providing some insight on how the Snyder Leadership Legacy Fellows Program came to be.
After lunch, we were able to hear even more about the origins of the Snyder Leadership Legacy Fellows program from one of the program’s co-founders—Chad Faulkner.
Students had the opportunity to hear from former football players in a panel discussion, with Chad Faulkner, Frank Hernandez, Jaime Mendez, Dillion Wilson, hosted by Kevin Lockett. Each of the panel participants were given an opportunity to share a story about how one of Coach Snyder’s goals resonated with them long past their college days. As this discussion came to a close, so did our time at Bramlage Coliseum.
Transitioning back to the Honors House after Bramlage, all of the Fellows began to prepare for dinner provided by housing and dining. We were all fortunate to have both Coach Snyder and Dr. Bob Shoop join us for the meal prior to the final scheduled event for day one, which was our annual “Fireside Chat” with Coach Snyder and Dr. Shoop. Once finished with dinner the Fellows grabbed their “Leadership Lessons from Bill Snyder” book and made their way to the fireplace section of the Honors House to hear a bit more from Coach Snyder and Dr. Shoop. All of our Fellows read the book in advance and prepared questions for Coach Snyder that they could have answered during the chat. Once completed, everyone was able to get a picture with Coach, as well as an autographed book from both Coach and Dr. Shoop—what a way to end the night!
The second day of the retreat began bright and early with a 6:30 am workout at the Brandeberry Indoor Complex, conducted by Dillon Wilson and a student athlete from the football team, Derek Bowman. Both Dillon and Derek put all of the Fellows and team members through a fun and high energy team-based workout which included everything from a football relay race to flipping tires down the field. The morning workout was concluded in a normal Snyder Fellows fashion with a friendly competition of women vs. men tug-of-war (which the women won for the fourth consecutive year).
Fellows then moved to the Leadership Studies Building and grabbed some coffee for their conversation about their learning from the “Leadership lessons from Bill Snyder” book. Each Fellow joined a group of 4 others and spread out around the building to discuss the book and their thoughts.
As those conversations came to a close, the fellows transitioned to Town Hall where they had the opportunity to hear from another guest speaker before lunch—K-State Ring of Honor member, Jaime Mendez. His conversation with the group dove deeper into his experiences with Coach’s 16 goals as well as his perseverance with life post-graduation. During this conversation we also were fortunate to have Chad Faulkner, Frank Hernandez, and Michael Smith (former K-State football player and now Wide Receivers Coach for Kentucky University) to add additional insight in the conversation.
As Jaime’s conversation came to an end, the Fellows transitioned into lunch and an activity based around communication and continuous improvement for the group. Coach Snyder stopped by and visited with the Fellows about his observations during the day’s activities.
As the day came to an end, the Fellows joined our final guest, former K-State kicker, Dillion Wilson, for our last large group conversation. Dillon talked with the group about servant leadership and how embraced the idea of being an active citizen both while at K-state and post-graduation. After Dillon’s powerful conversation the fellows made their way into the final wrap up discussion which challenged the group to continue to build their community over the course of the summer. As that challenge rested on the minds of everyone in the room, the May retreat concluded, with new friendships and excitement for the upcoming yearlong program.
“I had no clue what to expect walking into this event and I was blown away. I walked into that house knowing a handful of people and I walked out, literally floored by the community I was just given. I’m never entirely sure what all the catalysts for magic, for life-long friendship, for fundamentals are but I do know that you created a retreat full of them. I left wishing I had more time just to spend with these people. I’m so excited for this next year.” -2018-2019 Fellow