SAIL does not sail

Giving up her security, junior Abby Stevens is caught in her group’s arms. On Nov. 2-3 there is an annual leadership weekend where students learn what it takes to be a good leader and build new friendships.

Natalie Larimer, Staff Writer

The SAIL retreat has been cancelled. For about 25 years now, students have been able to go on a SAIL (Students Active In Leadership) retreat to meet new people, learn leadership skills and just have fun.

“The general idea of the SAIL retreat was to allow kids to come together and work on some leadership skills,” SAIL supervisor and history teacher Alicia Rollison said. “It was to help people make connections with students they normally wouldn’t hang out with.”

SAIL takes about 100 students each year to Boone to spend the night and learn how to be a leader in school.

“Administrators didn’t like how they were spending money to go on this retreat and nothing was brought back from it,” senior Shelby Fechner said. “That was the biggest issue.”

Administration thought that it was not cost-effective enough to be continued. “[Administration] questioned if the retreat all by itself was enough bang for their buck,” Rollison said. “Did it make enough of an impact to justify spending money on it and I don’t think they thought it did.”

The retreat was affecting  a small percentage of the population. “I just think that the most important thing is that this leadership builds upon the school and addresses issues we have here at school,” principal Brent Riessen said. “I would love to see focus of leadership on what’s going on around JHS right now.”

SAIL has also been replaced by various clubs and organizations such as the Student Ambassadors, National Honor Society and Student Council. “National Honor Society took over the signage for the doors and then they got rid of how we do sophomore orientation,” Rollison said. “The Purple Party just seemed like they were getting a lot of other volunteers so they didn’t need our group so that kind of dwindled it down to putting on the retreat.”

In the past French teacher Mary Moermond thought the retreat was an excellent event for students to experience. “I didn’t think it was worth kids being gone from school but as it progressed and as it got refined when people decided what leadership was about then it was a different story,” she said. At one time when the school had many fewer students over half the school participated. Last year about 100 students attended.

There is hope yet for SAIL. “There could be a lot of brainstorming that I could do with the SAIL kids,” Rollison said.