Students prepare to row their boats gently down the pool

By Jen Maldonado

Team Leadership Challenge (TLC) is rowing its way back onto Rider’s campus with the return of the cardboard canoe build and race event at the Coppola Pool for the third consecutive year.

TLC, which will take place on Sunday, April 15, was developed by the Center for the Development of Leadership Skills (CDLS). The day kicks off with participants attending a leadership training session where they are taught, “team building, communication, time management and goal setting skills,” according to Vanessa Velez, organizational leadership graduate student TLC coorditor. This year’s  participants will put these skills into action afterwards at the boat competition.

“This day allows for students to gain insight about how well they can work with others and have fun at the same time,” said Laura Seplaki, the associate director of the CDLS and director of the Leadership Development Program (LDP).

Participants in last year’s Team Leadership Challenge sail to the finish line. This year’s race will be held on Sunday, April 15.

Students compete in groups of five and have two hours to make a boat using only cardboard, plastic and tape. Two team members then have to paddle in the canoe across the length of the pool and make it successfully to the finish line.

“The boat contest is gaining more speed around campus,” Seplaki said. “Students who have participated in the past are telling other students about it and others just want to make a better boat than they did last year.”

Junior Louis Chebetar, a participant from last year, said despite past upsets, the boatmaking was his favorite part.

“I have had my try at the event two years and sunk [the boats at] both,” Chebetar said. “Only a few teams have made it off the starting line and to the end of the pool. Most boats sink.”

The event is open to the entire campus, and students can sign up individually to be randomly placed on a team or register with a full team. This year, teams can attend a training session on Tuesday, April 10, Friday, April 13 or Sunday, April 15, the same day as the boat build and race.

Another new aspect of TLC is that Greek Life is “more incorporated as a part of their Greek Week activities,” according to Velez. The Greeks will be participating in the training process, unlike last year when they only helped build boats.

Students interested in competing have until Friday, March 30 to register through TLC’s webpage. Before the boat ceremony begins, Jamiyl Mosley, area director of Residence Life, will deliver “a motivational keynote address” to the students, according to Seplaki.

“This is a great opportunity to touch up on your leadership skills that anyone can register for,” Velez said. “Everyone needs some sort of leadership skills to use later in life after they graduate, so this is a way to have fun while you’re learning.”

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