AMHERST, MA - On Sunday, February 10th, the Futures sophomore cohort gathered for their first event of the spring semester. Continuing with their year-long curriculum of communication, the student-athletes spent the day at All In Adventures.
Located in the Hampshire Mall, All In Adventures is a facility containing multiple escape rooms each with varying difficulty and themes. For many of the student-athletes this was their first time participating in an escape room. Many were unsure of what to expect and how this might tie into leadership development. To combat these wary thoughts the LEADS staff engaged the student-athletes in a meaningful discussion prior to their involvement in the event.
Participating in an escape room has proven benefits with regards to collaboration, creativity, stress, empathy, motivation, and communication and social ability, all of which can be thought of as dimensions of leadership development. Due to the year-long curriculum topic of communication, the LEADS staff especially honed in on this when speaking with the student-athletes. When placed in high stress situations (such as an escape room), those in the situation are forced to use communication with others around them to overcome challenges. Discussion of solutions, encouragement of active listening skills and positive body language, and opening ones mind to other ideas are all aspects of communication that the student-athletes brought forward in their pre-event discussion.
The LEADS staff also felt that it was important to point out the impact that teamwork had in working through an escape room situation. To make the event a bit more of a “real-life” situation the LEADS staff placed the student-athletes into groups without any of their teammates. In doing this, the student-athletes had to utilize their communication skills with those they are not used to being on a team with. This reinforces the real-life perspective of entering a job or internship situation and learning to work collaboratively with those who come from different backgrounds.
Overall everyone had a great time. The day challenged the student-athletes' communication skills and enhanced their leadership development, both of which are two significant goals of the Futures sophomore cohort curriculum. Many of the student-athletes remarked that they wish they could have stayed longer to solve the escape room or make it to the next level!
What’s next for Amherst LEADS?
- Sunday, February 17th - Captains Alumni Event
- Sunday, March 3rd - Futures (both sophomore and juniors) Emotional Intelligence Event
- Monday, March 4th - Community Event - “Space Now and Beyond”