My To-Do List from Last Weekend:
- Zip line over a cliff
- Egg toss across a pond
- Rock climb a 25-foot wall
- Have Q-tips blown at me while I was covered in tape
- Extreme Bonding
This weekend, I went on a retreat for the Rapoport Service Program, but before I get into the fun details of the retreat,
Mr. and Mrs. Rapoport are two absolutely amazing philanthropists who have both dedicated a lifetime (90 years in his case!) to serving others. Bernard and Audre Rapoport have created a program at UT where, each year, 12 freshmen in the College of Liberal Arts are selected to receive scholarship money. This scholarship money covers the entire cost of tuition for the next three years in exchange for the recipient’s pledge to complete 200 hours of service each summer. In addition, the 36 scholars are required to take two courses: Leadership, Ethics, and Society and Civil Engagement and Civil Responsibilities. The two classes are taken with your classmates, so for example, I am currently in ‘Leadership, Ethics and Society’ with my fellow sophomores. Long story short, the Rapoport Service Scholarship Program is the best scholarship UT offers. If you’re a freshman- APPLY NOW! Last year, I was chosen as one of the twelve Rapoport Scholars (along with fellow blogger, Joshuah!). To this day, being selected as a Rapoport scholar is my proudest collegiate achievement, and this retreat gave me an opportunity to get together with my fellow Rapoport Scholars. What was especially nifty about this retreat was it gave me a chance to meet the Juniors and Seniors of the program.
Now on to the good stuff! Adventure and the outdoors: what a great combo. This weekend retreat began on Saturday at 6:45 a.m. at the turtle pond on campus. I’m not going to lie. I haven’t seen 6:45 a.m. in probably about three years. The car ride was an adventure in itself. Marlon, my lovely driver, needed to stop at a McDonald’s to eat and to get wi-fi so he could switch money into his bank account to pay for gas. Well, little known fact, McDonald’s makes you pay for wi-fi. Lame. So then he proceeded to run around Cedar Park for 20 minutes until he found Amplify Bank, which had free wi-fi. However, we still had to get gas. We got to Balcones Springs about an hour after everyone else and missed breakfast, but it was all good.
The first activity was a mummy/Q-tip activity. I volunteered to be the mummy, which meant I got wrapped in tape (sticky side out) from my shoulders to my knees. My teammates blew Q-tips through straws at me and managed to get 183 to stick in three minutes time. Pretty impressive. Next, we did a hula-hoop challenge where everyone joined hands and maneuvered the hoop to the end of the line. As soon as one person got the hula hoop over him/herself and then passed it on, he or she let go of the person next to him or her and ran to the other end, so the chain kept going. We made it all the way around a huge pond. Next, we did an egg toss over the pond- which I am proud to boast, I was the only person of the day to catch an egg in my pillowcase. The last challenge, which was the tie-breaker, was a rock climbing wall. I did the easy wall in about 2 minutes. Now two guys, Marlon and Zaid, managed to do the hard wall in less than minute each! Wow! I was seriously impressed.
This retreat was full of fun activities and games, but above all, the best part of the experience was getting to talk to my fellow scholars. The fourteen people there amazed me with how caring and incredibly intelligent they all are. So, to wrap it up, I want to tell them thank you. Thank you Alexandra, Angie, Bridgette, Britney, Cecilia, Chetna, Eleana, Eric, Ivonne, Joshuah, Jourdan, Marlon, Thomas and Zaid. These people my family here in Austin, and I love them all dearly.
Now, Joshuah and I are both current bloggers and Rapoport Scholars. Zaid is also a Rapoport Scholar and was a First Year Student Journalist two years ago. Here is his blog! I guess it runs in the “family.”
For your viewing pleasure, our group photo: