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Moving forward at retreat

Running a club at NAIT isn’t all fun and games. Sometimes you need to take a little bit of training at a club retreat. Yet some would ask, are club retreats really so vital? For many clubs and members alike, retreats are essential to how a club functions.

“The retreats are very educational in how to run clubs, apply for grants and to meet other people,” said John Blizman, member of the Electronic Engineering Technology Society (EETS).

“Lots of effort is put into the retreats, and it’s important to develop that stronger sense of community,” said Catherine Stebner, president of the Exercise is Medicine Club (EIMC). When asked if the retreats were to be discontinued, the response from both club leaders is the same – a bad idea.

“If they were to cut the retreats it would be detrimental to the clubs,” said Stebner. Or, as John Blizman explained, “It would cause huge problems regarding the communication of grants, club logistics and coordination on things like OrgSync,” which is a relatively new online program for clubs to operate on. The retreats are an opportunity for NAIT Students’ Association club leaders to meet together and debrief on important issues as well as develop team building and leadership skills.

This year’s retreat, held near Edmonton, covered a range of topics, from utilizing OrgSync’s treasury function, optimizing social media use, as well as a team building activity reminiscent of the Amazing Race.

“It’s important to share how clubs are run with logistics and legalities,” said Stebner.

Clubs can be formed for program groups, interest groups, or any other legitimate campus group. This means groups as varied as the Accounting Club, Board Gamers Club, Bakers Club, Band Club, Biological Sciences Technology Club, Bike Club, Business Connex and many more are included in the retreats.

For those who think club retreats are just vacations, think again. Most clubs are required to have at least one student executive attend these retreats in order to satisfy their eligibility requirements for NAITSA grants.

NAITSA has at least 60 clubs currently registered and each club must have a representative attend these retreats to be eligible for grant funding. Each year, NAITSA puts just over $100,000 up for grabs in grant funding for clubs to utilize. It’s not an easy process though, as clubs need to prove that the funding will be used to benefit students.

The EETS club is dedicated to making electronic projects for fun and commercial purposes as well as hosting video games. The EIM club is dedicated to making healthy and active lifestyle choices in both home and work settings. Each of these clubs are vastly different but leaders from both are still required to attend NAIT’s club retreats. The retreat allows for the different clubs to meet each other, strategize, learn, and have fun with their organizations. Blizman said the retreats are “really enjoyable and a blast,” referencing all of the team building exercises and networking opportunities.

Gier Buterman

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