Eagle Rock’s Public Allies Fellows Indulge In A Mid-Year Day Away

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Editor’s Note: Kelsey Baun, our own Professional Development Center Fellow, joined other Eagle Rock Public Allies Fellows at a recent ‘Day Away’ experience to celebrate reaching the halfway mark in their yearlong time with us here at the Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center in Estes Park, Colo. Think of it as a “senior ditch day” for these 10 Fellows, only without the pinch and giggle that normally accompanies most 12th-grader ditch day events. Here then is Kelsey’s report.

By Kelsey Baun

Our most recent Mid-Year Fellow Day Away was held at the Estes Park Resort, highlighted by early morning inspiration provided by bucolic views of Lake Estes. A total of 10 Public Allies Fellows from here at Eagle Rock gathered to reflect during a day dedicated to exploring strengths, values and risks.

Our day began with the Fellows and Eagle Rock’s own Professional Development team members breaking bread — more like bagels — and partaking in an activity that shed light on individual perspective and success through the use of a dowel rod.

We then revisited our theme for the year of Refocusing Using Strengths and referenced to the use of Gallup’s Strengths Finder to focus each Fellow on what is it that they bring to the Eagle Rock community table.


In order for the Fellows to see their assets in a different light, the Professional Development team facilitated for us an activity centered on values. It entailed asking each Fellow to rank a list of values and identify the top five values they might integrate into their own daily lives. Everyone then processed how values pertain to the Team Service Projects (TSPs) on which our Fellows will be working for the remainder of their time at Eagle Rock.

When this exercise was completed, we all split up into teams to further explore the subject matter:

  • Allison McManis (Societies and Culture Fellow) and myself (Kelsey Baun) will be creating a new high-touch recruitment philosophy to increase the diversity of Eagle Rock’s own Public Allies Fellowship application pool.
  • Life After Eagle Rock Fellow, Molly Milota, and Service Learning Fellow, Courtney Lancaster, will be jointly creating diversity and inclusion opportunities for student involvement on the campus.
  • Our Music Fellow, Andrew Walker, and Aaron Guggenheim (Literacy and Literature Fellow) will be focusing on extracurricular activities for Eagle Rock students.
  • Niko Viglione (Human Performance Center Fellow), Dayna Saferstein (Visual Arts Fellow), Jack Hilbrich (Outdoor Education Fellow) and Matt Liston (World Language Fellow) will focus on the outdoor opportunities for students concentrating on hiking trail restorations and creating Geocaching scavenger hunts.

This day was facilitated using a Futures Protocol (PDF) from the School Reform Initiative — the premier source for materials, resources, and professional development related to Critical Friendship, Facilitative Leadership and Collaborative Learning(the organization supports educators to address issues of educational equity and excellence for all students through building and sustaining of transformational adult learning communities). Using the Futures Protocol allowed each team picture their end goals and visualize success and potential roadblocks they may experience.

Robert Burkhardt, founding Head of School here at Eagle Rock, hosted a working lunch with the Fellows where he inspired us with his life experiences of taking risks. Each Fellow had the opportunity to ask this former administrator a question and he challenged each of us to live a life of action and take positive risks to achieve personal and professional success.

Everyone then had time to work on her or his own TSP and take advantage of being in a space away from all the distractions of campus.

Our closing activity served as an analogy for Fellows to break through the obstacles they will face during the second half of the Public Allies Fellowship at Eagle Rock. Everyone was given a block of plywood, upon which they wrote the goals they hope to achieve for their remaining time at Eagle Rock. On the other side of the plywood, they wrote the obstacles that still stand in the way of achieving those goals.

Participants then used their foot to physically break their boards in half, and after symbolically breaking through their obstacles, our Mid-Year Fellows Day Away concluded with a fun-filled evening at the local bowling alley.

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About The Author: Kelsey Baun is the 2014/2015 Public Allies Fellow in Professional Development at the Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center in Estes Park, Colo. Prior to Eagle Rock, Kelsey worked for City Year in Boston, Mass, and  the Student Leadership Involvement and Community Engagement (SLiCE) office at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo. Kelsey has a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, specializing in organizational and innovation management.

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