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Kiley Therrien

Professor Frasier
Facilitation Experience

For my first facilitation experience I was grateful to have gotten the chance to facilitate

SOLC for our end of semester closing retreat. While this retreat was much more on the casual

side, the goal was to reflect on the semester, re-introduce members to each other, and bring

things to a close. Although the experience of members ranged from years within the organization

to this being their first semester, all participants were enthusiastic and lovely to work with. It was

important to Gina and I to ensure that all members felt included and got the chance to reflect on

their experience within SOLC this semester and that was portrayed through the activities we


In reflection upon this retreat it was not difficult to identify key aspects that went well.

To begin, it was encouraging to me as a facilitator to get to work with a group that had such great

communication. Their talkativeness positively contributed to our activities and encouraged

further discussion outside of the retreat. The pivotal example of their communication skills were

displayed with the “Take What You Need” activity where they were asked to share fun facts

about themselves. In addition, because of their experience with certain activities it was easier for

them to pick up concepts quicker. For example, when describing Cinnamon Roll for my first

time, although it was not the most clear, most of them understood what I was trying to say and

were able to carry out the activity. The final thing that I think went well during the retreat was

that I was able to work with Gina. This retreat, being my first, I felt very unsure of myself and

nervous for the outcome. Yet, facilitating with Gina, who is extremely supportive and outgoing,
made me feel more comfortable and confident in my abilities. Going forward, it is a goal for

myself to be proud of my abilities and not let an experience change how I think of myself.

On the contrary, there were a few minute things that I would alter in the future based on

how the retreat went. While the organization's ability to communicate was excellent, during the

“Take What You Need” activity the over-communication took away from the fluidity of the

activity. It was great to hear everyones stories that coincided with their fun facts but when people

had many pieces of toilet paper and stories for each it began to run a little long. In the future,

perhaps if I know I have an extremely talkative group I could get a timer and challenge them to

share before it beeps to keep the activity more timely. Another thing that I would have wanted to

go better was my own explanation of my activity, Cinnamon Roll. With more experience and

confidence in my facilitation skills I think my directions will become more clear but I know my

nervousness negatively impacted the understanding of the group. Finally, in the future, I would

want to find a way to keep the participants involved during the unroll part of Cinnamon Roll. I

noticed that once someone was out of the roll the started talking loudly to each other and I felt

like it took away from the importance of what their peer was saying. Going forward, I would

encourage the group to stand and either give encouraging snaps while listening to their members

or practice active listening.

During my role as a facilitator there were three key strengths of mine that contributed to

my ability to lead the group. For starters, I used the strength of individualization to see each

person as one of a kind. To go into more depth, I believe I am good at identifying what makes

each of us different and try to incorporate our differences to create more understanding among a

group of people. Individuality was displayed in both activities as participants were asked to share
fun facts, accomplishments, and goals throughout the experience. Bringing this tool to my

program allowed me to vocalize how everyone in a group is unique but extremely important to

the growth of the organization. Another strength that positively impacted the program is

empathy. ​Being an empathetic person means that I am easily able to feel what those around me

are feeling. In the past, I have used this during deep talks with friends as well as understanding

when people are feeling uncomfortable in sticky situations. I can carry this tool of empathy ​into​ a

facilitation environment when identifying challenge by choice situations. If I identify someone

feeling uncomfortable with sharing during Cinnamon Roll or Take What You Need, I now know

I can either encourage them to continue if the challenge is appropriate or find alternative ways

for them to participate if they are too uncomfortable. In our case, the activities were not so

challenging but I can remind everyone to share things if they are comfortable so no one feels

forced. Lastly, another strength of mine, significance, is what helped to drive my passion for

making our retreat a good closing experience for SOLC. With this passion for leadership I am

able to put my all into the program and hopefully that passion transcended into my facilitation.

When thinking about leadership theories and how they could relate to this experience, the

relational leadership theory stuck out to me the most. According to, relational

leadership focuses on the idea that leadership effectiveness has to do with the ability of the

leaders to create positive relationships within the organization. This coincides with the SOLC

retreat because the main focus of both of our activities revolve around building stronger

relationships. By sharing fun facts, accomplishments, and ambitions, you deepen the connection

between a group of people. The three biggest parts that I see fit best into the Komves model are

empowerment, purpose, and inclusivity. Our retreat was empowering by getting the chance to
celebrate achievements made with the organization. The retreat had purpose as we purposely

chose Cinnamon Roll and Take What You Need so we could further the communication and let

everyone get to know each other on a deeper basis. Lastly, the program was inclusive because

everyone was encouraged by the facilitators and their peers to share and no one was left out.

Overall, what I took away most from this experience is that it is really hard to totally ruin

a retreat. At first I was nervous that because this was my first chance to facilitate that it would

ruin the experience for the participants. Yet, if you just fake it till you make it no one will know

and things will run smoothly. Looking toward the future, I hope to take with me the newly

gained confidence from this experience and enhance my abilities to facilitate in the future.

In conclusion, this retreat was a great first experience to see where I stand as a facilitator.

Now that I have a baseline of my abilities I can take my strengths such as individualization,

empathy, and significance, as well as knowledge of this retreat, to guide me towards becoming a

better leader. It is my hope that with a little more practice that I will be able to facilitate

comfortably and confidently as well as make a positive impact on a multitude of organizations.

Komives, S, Lucas, N., & McMahon, T. (1998). Exploring Leadership for College Students
What Want to Make A Difference. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. (68-72)
Student Organization Leadership Consultants
December 3rd, 2018
Group: SOLC
Group Contact & Info: N/A
SOLC Contact: Kiley
Goal of the Retreat: To wrap up the semester, re-introduce members to one another, reflect on the
# Participants: ~30
Date: December 3rd, 2018
Time: 4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Location: Northwoods Challenge Course
Facilitators: Gina and Kiley
Food Requests: No
Special Requests/Needs: No
Retreat Agenda:

Time/Location Activity Facilitator Notes/Supplies Needed

4:00-4:30 Take what you need Gina Toilet paper

4:30-5:00 Cinnamon roll Kiley Roll up: what you are

proud of
Unroll: goal for the