What does it take to successfully get a team of fourteen (twelve students and two staff) through a kayaking expedition off the coast of Belize while paddling through rain, wind, and waterspouts? Additionally, how do you keep morale high when your team is hungry, wet, and exhausted?
Twelve diverse graduate students from varying programs at Carey discovered firsthand the answers to the above questions on the first annual Leadership Kayaking Expedition in Belize, a non-credit leadership course offered over winter break. The students, supported by Rebecca Bonco and Mike Doyle of Carey’s Career Development team, charted their course through five islands off the coast of Belize along the world’s second largest barrier reef. Throughout the journey, they faced many physical and mental challenges that pushed them far, far out of their comfort zones, and the students were surprised by their own strength and stamina as raging storms kept them awake at night.
Each day, the group identified a pair of leaders whose tasks included communicating the day’s mission to the group, providing inspiration, engaging with the local guide, and ensuring safety. When the group reached a new island, emerging leaders made decisions about logistics—tents, kitchen, and facilities. The team increasingly became more efficient and quickly jumped into action when the torrential downpours caught them off guard and gear needed to be protected. The thirst for adventure brought twelve students to Belize, but it was adaptability, resilience, and professionalism that shaped them into leaders—below are six student-submitted videos that showcase their challenges and achievements.