Warnell has a group of students known as student ambassadors. Their job is to represent Warnell at recruitment and alumni functions as well as conduct outreach events around the state. Donning their iconic polos, they are the faces of Warnell to many people on and off the UGA campus. Every year this group of students is trained during a weekend in August to perform the duties of an ambassador. This is the story of the 2016 retreat.
The Warnell student ambassadors set out for their retreat last Friday. The location was unknown but they left Athens excited for the training coming their way. The dinner location turned out to be a difficult decision but all 23 ambassadors and their fearless leaders made it safely to Wahsega 4-H Center in North Georgia.
The weekend started with a simple movement-based name game that turned into an impromptu workout. All the ambassadors really jumped into the activities very quickly. We then played a little bit of Warnell trivia to really test how well the new ambassadors know their school. They all did very well, even with some of the trickier questions.
Saturday morning came too quickly but when a hot breakfast is ready and waiting, waking up with a smile on your face isn’t too difficult. The morning started out with some Warnell major bingo. Now the ambassadors are prepared to answer questions outside of their majors. We had more business to attend to once bingo was completed but after that the fun was ramped up again. Our ambassadors are now all Project WILD trained! They participated in several of the well-known activities, such as Oh Deer and What’s Wild. We also gave them a challenge to write a poem about natural resources and we have some very creative students! Here are two of the poems written by our ambassadors.
To Be or Not to Be…
By: Joe Vaughn
To be a forestry major, will I have to know all the trees?
To be a fisheries and wildlife major, will I have to know all the animals?
To a NRRT major, will I have to know people’s culture?
To be a WASR major, will I have to know all the types of soil?
Those are my questions.
By: Sidney Woodruff
“The wildlife manager walks along the creek,
And sees the bank where the forests meet.
He sits and wonders his place in the land,
And gasps when he sees the task at hand.
‘This beautiful land so precious and pure,
How do I explore and not destroy?’
There’s more to know and less to touch,
To protect and conserve is a job we must.”
But then it was their turn to be the teachers. The ambassadors taught about duck feathers, bears, fish and predator-prey interactions. In the bear activity they were tasked to find their food (in the form of a paper card on the ground) and during several rounds certain students were given an additional challenge. In any given round of the activity we had a momma bear, blind bear or injured bear in the mix. This activity is used to show how factors in the environment can limit populations.
The evening ended with an activity to help our students answer some of the difficult questions that students are asked at events. Ambassadors are faced with responding to statements like “The only good snake is a dead snake” and “I brought home 10 turtles from our pond. They live in my bathtub.” These can be difficult to respond to if you’re not prepared. We also discussed more straightforward questions like “What do I need to do to transfer to UGA?”
Overall, the ambassadors are prepared to respond to a wide variety of questions they might face this year.
Sunday morning consisted of team bonding activities. We played a wonderful game of Do you Love your Neighbor? This is a game that highlights the similar things about the group, everything from shirt color to whether or not individuals own a pet. Luckily it didn’t turn into a contact sport and no one got injured. Before leaving camp several students played volleyball again. Whenever there was a moment of downtime, a game of volleyball would magically appear. Luckily the net was pretty short so the tall members of the team didn’t have to jump to spike the ball. We loaded up the vans and headed off to enjoy an afternoon of tubing on the mountains. The folks at Appalachian Outfitters hooked us up, and we floated for about an hour and a half before pointing the vans towards Athens.
Overall, it was quite the fun weekend filled with training, bonding and a lot of fun.