Category Archives: Student Development and Leadership Program

“Attitude Reflects Leadership, Captain.”

In a riveting scene from the motion picture, Remember the Titans, Julius Campbell says one of the most defining lines of the entire movie. After arguing with the team captain he states, “Attitude reflects leadership, captain.” Although this scene does not exactly represent Recreation and Wellness’ Student Development and Leadership Program, this phrase certainly describes the leaders within.


The Student Development and Leadership Program (SDL) is designed to teach and enhance the leadership skills of employees within the Recreation and Wellness Department. The sessions are conducted by professional staff, graduate assistants and other experienced and knowledgeable people linked to the University.


SDL is beneficial to RecWell employees because it is informative and motivational at the same time. The program prepares students for their current jobs in RecWell, as well as their future. No matter what career paths they choose, this program will motivate them to be successful.


Because the program is completely voluntary, incentives are offered to the participants. The incentives include: Learning to be a leader, opportunities for promotion, career development, recognition events, Rec Bucks and of course CASH! Students can make up to $50.00 for attending every session.


During the sessions, students participate in a variety of activities both individually and in teams. Student Supervisor Joanna Larkin described the activities as an interactive setting that helps students better understand the message. “At one SDL, we met at the climbing wall and practiced team trust building,” she said. “At our money management session, we did an activity that allowed us to figure out what type of person we were when it comes to saving vs. spending.” Other sessions have included activities such as resume building, a starlit night hike, and a tour of the behind the scenes in RecWell.


Larkin emphasized the fact that even though most of the sessions are held on a Friday and may seem boring, they are actually very fun. “They are a great way to build your resume, build your relationship with your co-workers and peers, and ultimately build your character,” Larkin said.


The last workshop for the spring semester is on Friday, April 23 at 3:30 PM. The workshop is titled, “How to Measure UP” and will cover focus groups. It will be held at the Student Recreation Center Youth and Family Room. The session is open to those students who have attended at least one SDL session. In order to attend, sign up at


The “captains” of Recreation and Wellness are obviously aware of the relationship between attitude and leadership. They set aside time in their busy schedules to ensure their employees are receiving the proper training and leadership experience they need.  If it were not for these “captains” reflecting positive attitudes upon their players, the program would not be as successful as it is.

BGSU RecWell Recognizes Excellence

The Department of Recreation and Wellness employs 200 to 300 BGSU Students each year. These students are all individuals who believe in RecWell programs and are passionate about their work. In order to continue the excellence these students offer to the program, it is critical to show them the recognition they deserve.


One of the most traditional ways RecWell implements recognition into the workplace is selecting an employee of the month. Students are chosen by the Student Employee Board each month. The board submits names of students they feel have earned this title, discuss the nominees and then vote.


Associate Director of Programs, Cathy Swick, explained students were chosen for this departmental honor. “Student Supervisors from every group in the department, Aerobics to Zamboni, nominate a student employee whom they feel deserves the recognition, then usually one student is chosen.”


So far this year, eight student employees have earned the Employee of the Month title.


September-Ellen Borer

October-Adie Heyne

November-Lindsay Helm

December-Jeremy Lewis, Mike Swartz, Rob Whitaker

January- Ryan Rampe

February- Kaitlyn Koby


Student Recreation Center Employee, Ellen Borer, discussed her reaction to receiving this honor. “To me, being awarded Employee of the Month means that hard work and completing assigned tasks pays off (in the delicious form of Cookie Jar), and that doing a little extra can make a big difference.”


When named Student of the Month, students receive a certificate that reads “Employee of the Month”, their name and picture on the RecWell web site, and the student favorite: a gift certificate to The Cookie Jar.


Lindsay Helm, SRC Employee, explained how nice it is to be recognized. “As a student worker, a lot of the time it feels like you are assigned the grunt work,” she said. “It is an honor to receive this award, because it makes you feel appreciated for all of the hard work you put in to the high standards of the department.”

Lindsay Helm Nov. 2009 Employee of the Month

While Employee of the month is a monthly incentive program, there are other incentives that encourage students to work hard on a daily basis. Incentives such as Rec Bucks, the Student Development and Leadership Series and end of the semester banquets ensure that students receive the recognition they deserve year round.


The Department of Recreation and Wellness is extremely proud of the student staff. “Our students tend to go above and beyond,” said Swick. “We are very lucky.”

BGSU Almnus, David Barac, on Leadership and Motivation


The University recently hosted a presentation by a former student with an interesting career. On Friday, September 18 in the Ballroom at the Bowen-Thompson Student Union, BGSU alumnus and Managing Director of the San Diego Chicken Organization David Barac spoke as part of Recreation and Wellness’ Student Development and Leadership Program. The theme of the presentation was Exploring Leadership and Motivation.

Barac opened his presentation with a video clip illustrating one of the more unique aspects of his job. The video was one of him, dressed as Barney the dinosaur, entertaining fans with the San Diego Chicken during an intermission at a Milwaukee Admirals hockey game.

“Occasionally, I get to dress up as Barney and I get beat up by a chicken,” said Barac.

Barac graduated from BGSU in 2003 with bachelor’s degree in Sport Management. He interned with the San Diego Chicken Organization and went on to get his M.B.A. from the University of Toledo.

The influence of BGSU was apparent throughout much of Barac’s presentation. He credited his time at the University for developing his professional writing and communication skills, as well as, his preparedness to be interviewed.

“Out here your grade is your paycheck,” Barac stated. “It’s important to practice your writing.”

However, Barac also conveyed the importance of things outside of work. “You have to balance work, volunteer work, and fun,” he said.

Barac also gave insightful advice relevant to those soon entering the job market. Persistence and dedication were two ideas heavily stressed, which he believed to be essential to long-term career success. He also effectively expressed the importance of career satisfaction.

“If you love what you do, doors will open up for you,” Barac said. “If you show others you can do the job and you love what you do, they’ll do business with you.”

Barac closed with some words of inspiration:

“Broaden you horizons. Try to learn new things,” Barac said. “Look at me. I work for a guy in a chicken suit, and here I am today.”

The presentation on Exploring Leadership and Motivation was the first in the Student Development and Leadership Program series. The program runs through the Spring Semester and includes 12 total presentations and workshops on topics such as Leadership and Technology, Crisis Management, and Interactive Teambuilding. To register for future program events, visit The next program event is Leadership and Technology on Wednesday, September 30 at 9:15 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center’s Youth and Family Room. The facilitator is Recreation and Wellness Assistant Director Lona Leck.