“Yesterday, we used ourselves to build a team. Today, we used our team to build ourselves.”

    By Class Member Ruben Almanza, Whitley Penn.

    The 2012-2013 Leadership Pearland class, sponsored by the Pearland Chamber of Commerce, embarked on a two day retreat to the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch in New Braunfels, Texas on September 24th and 25th. The purpose of the retreat was to provide class participants with the opportunity to get to know one another and learn to work as a team. This year’s participants include Ruben Almanza, Whitley Penn; Andrew Miller, Adult reading Center, Inc; Kim Hocott, Pearland Independent School District; Laurie Rock, Altus Hospice Care; Melissa Black, Pearland
    Economic Development Corporation; Butch Babineaux, CDM Smith; Roy Mata, Bredero Shaw; Sherwin Sun, Keep Pearland Beautiful; and Sparkle Anderson, City of Pearland.

    The retreat provided three main events, a low-rope course, a compass challenge, and a high-ropes course. The low-ropes course was designed to provide challenging tasks that were designed to open the team’s eyes to problem solving skills such as planning, organization, focusing on the big picture, time management, and leadership. For the compass challenge, we were required to split into two teams and with the use of compasses and flashlights, help each other navigate through the woods in order to reach each marked location. The high-ropes course was designed to
    overcome individual fears. It consisted of climbing to the top of a 36-foot post, jumping off of it, and either grabbing a ring that was suspended in mid air or a trapeze that was also suspended in mid air. It also consisted of climbing a 50-foot pole and zip-lining from a platform on top or free-falling from the platform. The final obstacle had you and a teammate suspended 30 feet in the air and required both teammates to assist each other in balancing on a rope while trying to work their way towards a bell at the end of the ropes.

    Now that the details are out of the way, let me tell you what really happened out there. Nine complete strangers were brought together with most simply excited to have a couple of extra days away from the office. No one had any expectations that 30 hours with people who had completely different backgrounds and were in completely different places in their lives would have any effect on each other. The truth is, not one of us will ever forget this moment in our lives. Sherwin Sun
    stated, “I learned a lot about myself and the way I respond to fear, pressure, influence and other factors.” Butch Babineaux, when asked what he will most likely take away from the retreat, responded by saying that it was interesting to see that each individual had their own talents and abilities that helped strengthen the bond of the team. We shared stories, developed memories, and
    most of all, developed relationships. As the title suggests, on the first day, we used our individual attributes to create a team, and on the second day, we used that team to help build ourselves and overcome our own personal fears.

    Leadership Pearland, Texas is a national leadership program sponsored by the Pearland Chamber of Commerce designed to identify and bring together men and women of the area who seek the opportunity to expand their involvement in the community and are willing to assume leadership positions. It is a series of eleven sessions covering such areas as personal skills, government, economic development, social needs, and other key segments of our community.