Spring Retreat 2023 was by far one of the highlights of my BBSA experience, for reasons I never expected. Throughout my second year in Belles I served as a Social DB, and for this retreat, was tasked with the job of heading the Activities Committee. A couple months of planning and preparation later, I was wracked with anxiety about being so in charge– what if nobody had fun? What if we planned too much? Too little? What if someone gets hurt, what if I screw up as a host, what if quite literally anything negative happens? It was a very rigid, unforgiving feeling, and I was then left with the personal expectation that I was going to get there and not be able to enjoy myself because of this pressure. I was terrified of letting anyone down, especially so because this was the first weekend retreat Belles has hosted in years. If anything went awry, I felt fully unprepared to handle it, but at least I could say I had considered the worst. I tried to take solace in that semblance of control, then packed my bags and went to sleep.
Retreat did, truthfully, go unexpectedly. I was placed in a car group as the only passenger, my one road trip companion being a girl I’d never really spoken to, and I was dreading the two-hour car ride of forced social casualties. The first night, I was in charge of hosting two ice-breaker games, both of which I had planned and which required speaking in front of a decent-sized group. The second day, we had a morning hike, kickball tournament, and dress-up murder mystery on the schedule. Less than an hour before the hike, I realized the trail I selected was insanely complicated, and in an anxious flurry, had to select and lead our group along a different trail. The afternoon kickball tourney entailed intense heat, bugs, and lots of *friendly* competition, all of which I failed to previously prepare for and which left the masses exhausted. Because of this, it was suggested that we move the evening itinerary up a few hours to allow for less structured time once the sun went down. Needless to say, by this point I was fried, feeling as though every ounce of my anxieties were realized.
It was only then that it struck me– why have I been so consumed by every negative? I had allowed myself to live in that anxiety, allowed it to rule my experience because it helped me feel in control. Ironically enough, this anxiety was my comfort zone. To step outside of it, I had to let go of my planned expectations and simply… relax. This felt so foreign to me, but the second I made this switch I began realizing how many positives there had actually been.
The drives to and from ended up blossoming a dear friendship, one that led to our newest adventure as Co-Social Directors. Our first night of icebreakers led so many Belles to connect more deeply with one another, whether they began as close friends or strangers. Our hike and kickball tournament allowed us a literal breath of fresh air and some much needed exercise (speaking for myself…), and I was told that both of these events were the highlight of many Belles’ weekends. Our murder mystery pushed us to use our brains, both logically and creatively, and presented a fabulous opportunity to glam up. We ended the night with stargazing, deep conversations, and s’mores casserole, and by then I had fully allowed myself to exist in the moment.
This weekend was a pivotal moment for me, both personally and as a leader in BBSA. I made beautiful memories, formed and strengthened friendships, and came away with proof that stepping outside my comfort zone leads to much more positivity than negativity. Spring Retreat is now something I cannot wait to host this upcoming year, and I thank each and every Belle who was a part of my experience.
Belle love always,
BBSA Social Director, 23-24