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Programs 'bound' to help freshmen succeed

Nov. 18, 2004

By MANDY JOHNSON, reporter

Baylor Bound is a program that provides freshmen the opportunity to discover their God-given talents and use individual strengths to make a difference at Baylor and beyond.

Incoming Baylor freshmen are presented with various opportunities to take a strengths test, which measures five strengths in which each individual can excel. StrengthsQuest is a program from the Gallup Organization that helps students discover their strengths and how they relate to other people.

All freshmen must take this assessment test at orientation and have an opportunity at Baylor Line Camps to develop the strengths before school begins.

"I believe the strength tests are building a great community for students, and I want students to plug-in and make friends," Trey Guinn, a San Antonio graduate assistant for student activities, said.

Following StrengthsQuest, students participate in Success4Students, material designed to help students discover what it takes to be academically successful in college.

Baylor Line Camps are offered at several times and locations, and each camp provides a distinctive theme but one purpose.

"The first goal of Baylor Line Camps is to provide students the opportunity to know more about themselves, and the strengths test is the vehicle we use to help students find their individual calling," Guinn said.

Various Baylor Line Camps include: Big Ideas, Outdoor Adventure, Call to Serve, Spiritual Journey, Spirit of BU and August Fast Track.

Big Ideas is held at Baylor and provides the chance for students to discover their strengths through J.R.R. Tolkien's imagery of good and evil, intellectual discussion and engaging experiences.

According to a survey taken by Student Life, one reason students chose Big Ideas was because there was a Lord of the Rings tie-in.

Outdoor Adventure, another Baylor Line Camp, was offered in two locations, the Gila Wilderness Area of Colorado and the Twin Sisters Wilderness of the Pacific Northwest.

Wilderness camps offered backpacking, horseback riding, rock climbing, white water rafting, a peak summit and a solo experience and are designed for individuals who love the outdoors.

Outdoor Adventure is designed for freshmen to team together and overcome mental and physical challenges.

Call to Serve, located in urban Waco, provides freshmen the chance to explore issues of poverty with Mission Waco and World Hunger Farm.

"My 'woo' strength plays out because I'm very extroverted and love to talk to people," Whitney Tunney, Nashville freshman and Call to Serve camper, said.

"I recently made the Freshman Leadership Organization and used this strength for my interview as well as for meeting new people, and I'm now the co-chaplain and love getting in front of people to share," she said.

Most students who participated in Call to Serve possessed an interest in missions and wanted to meet new people.

Spiritual Journey, a camp disciplining faith, worship, reflection, prayer, Bible study and simplicity, was held in Weatherford.

Throughout the course of this camp students met friends who share a passion for God.

Spirit of BU and August Fast Track were both held at Lakeview Camp.

Spirit of BU presented students the opportunity to learn the traditions and pride of Baylor, covering topics such as the Baylor Line fight song, cheers, chants and spirit.

"I'm involved in Student Congress, FCC and MSO, and I love being a part of the Baylor community, and being in these various organizations allows me a venue to utilize my strengths in varying means," Travis Plummer, a Houston freshman and participant in Spirit of BU, said.

August Fast Track aided students in learning how to succeed as a student a Baylor involving interactions with students in small groups.

Incoming freshmen who haven't participated in Baylor Line Camps also have the opportunity to learn more about their strengths through Friday Chapel.

Freshmen must attend a strengths presentation in which students gather and learn about each strength given to them through the StrengthsQuest.

Upon attending the mandatory presentation, students receive a voucher for coming and a free movie pass after filling out evaluations.