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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Day 4 at the 2009 Acacia Leadership Academy

Today marked the final day of the 2009 Acacia Leadership Academy. The morning started off with all the delegates making their way to the Masonic Lodge here in Bloomington,IN where they were treated to a sumptuous breakfast by the Masons of the lodge. They then witnessed the induction of Andrew Kaiser from Missouri into their ranks of brotherhood. Follwing his induction, three current members from the active chapter were inducted into the Alumni Association of the Acacia Fraternity as they were graduating from their respective undergraduate chapters.
After the events at the Lodge, delegates came back to the Acacia house where they continued with their last breakout session for this year's ALA. They discussed topics that were covered throughout the last few days and conversed on various ideas regarding membership development, rush etc. that they could take back to their respective chapters. After this, members adjourned for lunch. Following lunch, they continued on into the final rounds of the Acacia Olympics. Members then reconvened for a final presentation from Bill Utic, President of the Acacia Fraternity Foundation who spoke about the significance of the operations of the Foundation and how it affected the operations of all chapters. He also provided ideas for students as to how they could use it to better enhance their own chapters as well.
The evening saw all the delegates assemble outside the Acacia House where they all took group pictures along with the President of Acacia Fraternity, Brother David Allen. It was at this time the winners of the Acacia Olympics were announced. Here are the results :
1st Place- Pimps of Pythea
2nd Place-Seamen of Samos
3rd Place-The AKAK Enforcers
4th Place-Wine & Women (yep, thats right :-) )
After this, all members, staff and alumni converged onto the Dining Hall for the closing banquet that was a great bonding experience for all as alumnus and delegates shared stories and exchanged ideas amongst each other. It was followed by awarding scholarships to various delegates who were identified as key individuals who have contributed their fair share of effort to the fraternity and were potential leaders of tomorrow. After this, everyone got to share their experiences with the others about how ALA affected them in a positive manner and how this was a turning point for all of them personally and fraternally. Venerable Dean of the current active Chapter of the Acacia Leadership Academy, Tyler Heil then formally closed the 2009 Acacia Leadership Academy.
In retrospect, Acacia Leadership Academy has been a great boon for me as a brother. It taught me well about how this fraternity can help us all and it also gave me a chance to meet my fellow brethren from other states. Truly, it was an experience par none.
This concludes the 2009 Acacia Leadership Academy held in Bloomington,IN. Hope you all enjoyed the blog posts. Please feel to continue the dialog on this blog site and comment on any thoughts, feedback or ideas. The 2010 Acacia Conclave will be held in New Orleans, LA. So stay tuned for futher updates coming your way !!
Brother Goutham Ramdas, #276
Acacia Fraternity-Saint Cloud, MN Chapter

Friday, July 31, 2009

Day 3 at the Acacia Leadership Academy

Fellow Brethren,

Today was Day 3 at the Acacia Leadership Academy. The day was started by the delegates engaging themselves in breakfast at the Acacia chapter house in Bloomington,IN. After which everyone headed out to Nashville,IN where they all participated in some intense rounds of friendly paintball. Members got to battle it out on the open grounds where they played "Capture the Cone", "Storm the Hill" and "Speedball". The cooking staff were generous enough to pack lunches for all the delegates, which they got to enjoy and savour after breaking a sweat at the paintball games.

Following that, all delegates assembled back at the chapter house where Rob Roberson, the Treasurer of the Acacia International Council addressed the group on the topic "Acacia Dollars and You" which emphasized on how the entire financial operations of the fraternity as a whole were conducted and how they could be applied to individual chapters. It was after this presentation that the audience were introduced to "GENERATION Millionaire" by Stephanie Rulli, a financial consultant, educator and Professional speaker who aims to educate the youth of America and show them the path to financial freedom. She provides them with the tools needed to make financial decisions that can yield positive changes that last a liftime. After this all delegates and alumnus were invited to a BBQ/Hog Roast for dinner. During this time, delegates continued their active participation in the Acacia Olympics.

Breakout sessions continued after dinner with a detailed session on Membership Recruitment by Assistant Executive Director Keith Bushey and Director of Membership Recruitment Patrick McGovern. It gave the delegates the chance to learn advanced and strategic tactics they could utilize to increase rush membership every year. This was followed by rituals to begin the initiation of Associate Member Andrew Kaiser from the University of Missouri. His initation will continue into Day 4 at the Masonic Lodge tomorrow.

Stay tuned to this blog for more updates tomorrow coming live to you from the 2009 Acacia Leadership Academy in Bloomington, Indiana...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The 8th Biennial Acacia Leadership Academy begins... Day 1 and Day 2 updates..

Under the grand auspices of The Acacia Fraternity and the Acacia Fraternity Foundation, the 8th Biennial Acacia Leadership Academy successfully was launched yesterday July 29th,2009 at the Acacia House on the campus of Indiana University. More than 100+ delegates from different chapters and colonies from across the United States and Canada converged onto the grounds of Acacia here in Bloomington, Indiana. This event gives these young minds the opportunity to unearth the essential skills needed for leadership and to further understand and develop the values of the Acacia Fraternity.
The event was inaugurated at 3:45 pm in the Dining Hall of the Acacia House where Darold Larson, Executive Director of the Acacia Fraternity opened the event by welcoming the delegates and giving them an overview of the various events that were to be coming throughout the week. This was followed by a brief introduction by David Allen, President of Acacia Fraternity who also welcomed the students. As it was decided to operate the fraternity under one chapter, Keith Bushey, Assistant Executive Director of Acacia Fraternity divided the delegates into four different groups. Each of these groups would nominate officers for the following positions:
  • Venerable Dean
  • Senior Dean
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • Risk Manager
  • Brotherhood Chair
  • Senior Steward
  • Junior Steward
Immediately after dinner, the delegates assembled back in the Dining Hall, where the nominees for all these positions were given the opportunity to speak to audience and attempt to convince why they should be chosen for their respective position. Following that, all the positions were put to a vote and the individuals were chosen for the respective positions on the Executive Board of the Acacia Leadership Academy. The opening night was concluded with all the delegates enjoying a few good games of bowling at the Classic Lanes Bowling Alley.
Day 2:
Day 2 began at 7:30 am in the morning with the delegates having breakfast with the staff and the rest of the attendees at the Acacia House. Following that, there was a formal inauguaration for the Acacia Leadership Academy under the reins of its Venerable Dean, Tyler Heil from Ohio University Chapter. Secretary Goutham Ramdas from the Saint Cloud State chapter presented the Roll Call for all the chapters attending the event. Darold Larson and Treasurer Brian T Biddle from the Saint Cloud State Chapter presented the budget that was put forward for the Acacia Leadership Academy. This was followed by Officer reports from the different members of the Executive Board of ALA. Andrew Kaiser, a pledge from the Missouri Chapter will be initiated in this year's ALA at the Masonic Lodge. Preparations are currently underway.
After the formal opening, delegates were given the opportunity to listen to speaker David Westol from Limberlost Consulting on "23 Ways to Detect Hazing", as hazing was one of the key topics being addressed at this year's Acacia Leadership Academy. David Westol is an alumnus of Michigan State University and the Detroit College of Law. Mr. Westol has been actively involved in the Greek community for the last 40 years, with one of his college positions being the Theta Chi fraternity's recruitment chairman. In 1980 he served as a National Vice President for the national board of his fraternity. He is currently the owner and CEO of Limberlost Consulting in Carmel, Indiana. His presentation today covered 23 techniques that can be used by not just Acacia chapters, but fraternities and sororities all over the country, to detect hazing within its confines. Some of these techniques also include emphasis upon pledge class unity, window coverings around chapter house, collecting cell phones etc. He emphasized that the purpose of a fraternal life was to enlighten a student through practices of integrity and honor, not through acts of physical or mental aggression a.k.a hazing. Following his presentation, the delegates from University of Illinois presented a brief panel on hazing. This panel was particularly enlightening especially because of the presence of one of their former alumni. They brifely spoke about how they ran into issues that came about because of hazing previously. The delegates then broke off for lunch and had a chance to interact with some of the staff members and other delegates from across the country. Acacia apparel has been on sale all day today for delegates to purchase too.
Right after lunch, everyone convened back into the Dining room and Mr.Westol was back again this time to take everyone through a potential (yet fictional) situation of what can happen when a pledge is put through extreme hazing, one which can lead to death. The impeccable detail from Mr.Westol's lecture gave the delegates a deep insight into the mindset of that of a pledge when he/she is being subject to hazing and also that of those who conduct the hazing especially when it goes awfully wrong. Dave Westol went on to state that nothing ever good comes out of hazing and if active members thought that it was something fun to do, then they were very mistaken. He encouraged the delegates to perform better by stating " You have the principles and values in place as an Acacian. Now, we need young men to say and do what they promised to say and do". Truly his words of wisdom were a great eye-opener to a lot of students who gathere here at ALA.
Currently, all delegates are involved in the Acacia Olympics. Stay tuned to this blog to hear more as we bring you live updates from the 2009 Acacia Leadership Academy here in Bloomington, Indiana !!

Live blogging from ALA!

Keep following us throughout the week as we blog live from the 2009 Acacia Leadership Academy! As ALA revolves around the concept of undergraduate brothers from across North America coming together to form a "model chapter," it is only fitting that the elected Secretary take the helm. Keep your eyes peeled!

Acacia blog introduction

Hello, Brothers, friends and guests! Thank you for taking a moment to check out our new blog. We plan to share with you Acacia news and stories, questions and topics for discussion, and relevant interfraternal news. It is important to us that we make this blog a meaningful way to communicate with you, and we encourage your feedback after each post. Thanks again, and we look forward to taking this journey with you!

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