As a brother who joined APO as a very shy, socially awkward freshman, I believe that APO was instrumental in bringing me out of my shell. APO seemed intimidating to me when I first joined, as so many brothers seemed very comfortable in their own skin. Everyone seemed to be very social and always made sure to honor each other’s accomplishments.
As a freshman, I was very scared to be acknowledged and did not want any attention. I was genuinely surprised when I went to chapter and brothers knew my name. I never saw myself as a leader, and my freshman self would have never imagined that I would become Fellowship Vice President of our chapter. (Neither could my junior year self, apparently, since I almost dropped out an hour before running because I was so nervous.)
When first elected to the position, one of my main goals was to listen to what brothers REALLY wanted out of their fellowship, and do my best to make that happen. This year, the committee planned hikes, ski trips, Scene 75, Bob Ross painting nights, workout classes, cookouts, game nights, and intramurals (including volleyball x2, sand volleyball, flag football, dodgeball, kickball, softball x2, and wallyball)!
I am so proud of every single one of my committee members in making each event so amazing. My chairs (Sean Roach, Grant Newland, Justin Palmer, Megan Dickinson, and Peter Connelly) were especially vital in planning all these events, as well as Spirit Week and Family Olympics.
It has certainly been an interesting year recovering from the pandemic that has impacted our lives and our chapter so heavily these past few years. Despite the restrictions the pandemic imposed on us, our chapter’s three pillars still found ways to thrive. Many brothers leapt at the opportunity to lead, especially navigating the Zoom environment. I personally gained more confidence and leadership experience through leading online workshops and hosting smaller-scale events through Zoom.
Service definitely saw the most changes, but our chapter combat this by offering more diverse and online options. Some service I previously enjoyed has still not been able to return, including volunteering at the Carlyle House. Luckily, our service committee has introduced a plethora of new options, including the Dakota Center and Mission of Mary Farms. Service is still a vital part of our chapter, and there are plenty of options available.
Friendship was also a struggle in the virtual environment. However, emerging from a period of time in which brothers could not meet face-to-face arose a greater passion for fellowship in many of our brothers. As Fellowship Vice President for the past year, I have had the great honor of restructuring the fellowship program with the help of an amazing committee.
This past weekend, our fellowship program won the Ramsey Fellowship Award at sectionals, which was a great honor for our chapter as well as the committee. Justin Palmer, who served as Intramural Chair, won the individual Ramsey Fellowship Award as well!
Looking forward, I am excited to see what the next EC accomplishes! My former fellowship chairs, Grant Newland and Justin Palmer, were just elected as President and Fellowship Vice President. My heart is so full knowing that myself and the rest of EC this year worked really hard on restoring our chapter this year. I am super sad to graduate this May, but I know that the next EC and our new brothers will make an amazing impact on our chapter history!
P.S. Please text me if you EVER want to talk or hangout in Cleveland with me! My number is (440) 552-8342 :)