WHITTIER, Calif. - The Poet Student-Athlete Leadership Academy (PSALA) has just returned from their 2nd annual Leadership Retreat, which took place in Big Bear, Calif. from May 20-22. The entire event was facilitated by Jen Schumacher a Performance Psychology Instructor at the Center for Enhanced Performance at West Point.
Jen earned her Master's Degree in Sport Psychology at California State University, Fullerton, studying under Dr. Ken Ravizza, and is a Certified Consultant through the Association of Applied Sport Psychology. Prior to her arrival at West Point, Jen was a Sport Psychology Consultant and lecturer of sport and exercise psychology at California State University, Fullerton. Over the last decade, Jen has worked with collegiate, club, masters, and high school teams and individuals on the mental aspects of performance across a variety of sports.
The purpose of this retreat was to reinforce the core values of PSALA: Purpose, Ownership, Excellence, Teamwork and Sportsmanship. In this process student-athletes and coaches developed strategies to implement these core values throughout the Whittier College Athletic Department, to promote mental skills such as leadership, teamwork, communication, accountability, resiliency, and reflection; and to strategize future development of PSALA. Athletes and coaches left the two day retreat with a stronger connection with one another and a skill set which can be taken back to their teams and the Whittier College Athletic Department.
"We are extremely fortunate to have Jen Schumacher join PSALA for the 2nd year in a row" Assistant Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Welfare Monica Gerardo stated. "Her knowledge, professionalism and ability to connect with the student-athletes is remarkable. I believe that the growth that goes on over the course of two days is something that we are all fortunate to experience, as both a coach and a student-athlete. The various exercises allowed all of us to draw connections through real life experiences and gain comfort in knowing that we are trying to make the right choices in our daily lives. This recognition and process is something the student-athletes can not only take back to their teammates, but skills they can take with them throughout their life journey."
"I really enjoyed the trip to Big Bear because it allowed me to really step outside my comfort zone and I got to make some new friends along the way."- Alexis Vargas - Fr./Softball
"The PSALA retreat was not only an enlightening, but also a very enjoyable experience. We were given the opportunity to engage in fun activities, but everything we did was very purposeful and always tied back into leadership. I think one of the best parts about this retreat was the fact that we got to experience it with people we did not necessarily know from different sports. It's easy to take part in team building activities with actual members of your team, but we had to push past our comfort zone and do so with new people which was a great learning experience. I believe the members of the academy who took part in this retreat are very excited to take back what we learned and incorporate it into the culture of our individual teams."- Sam Casanas - Fr./Softball
"I think that the retreat allowed us to get closer to other athletes in the Leadership Academy. This team experience can definitely help us go into next year with an initiative and strong desire to grow as a whole."- Melissa Tobias – Fr. / Cross Country
"One of my favorite things about the retreat this year was the focus on communication, most prominently demonstrated through the drawing exercise. It demonstrated that communication needs to be clear and precise AND what's effective varies from person to person."- Margo Campos – Sr./VP/ Women's Basketball
"Hearing the different viewpoints and ideas of all the natural-born leaders in the room was very eye opening. We discussed so many things, not only about athletics but about life."- Jacob Conlon – So./Men's Soccer
"This year's retreat was extremely beneficial to my growth as a student athlete and leader. I was able to connect with an amazing group of individuals and create a bond with them. We were able to use this time to discover new ways on how to continue growing the culture of our athletic department for individual athletes, our teams, and the department as a whole. I'm really looking forward to this upcoming year to work with the members of PSALA and continue the development and awareness of the core values we have established."- Emily Olague – Jr./Women's Lacrosse
" The PSALA Retreat was both enriching and enlightening. I learned how to maintain a strong mental space for both my sport and life. I would love to go again!"- Camryn Purdom - Fr./Volleyball
"Very fun and awesome 2 days of leadership building."- William Allgeier – Fr./Men's Soccer