My first day at the Phi Mu Leadership Institute started at 7 a.m. when I woke up to catch my 10 a.m. flight. I had never flow by myself before, so I was pretty nervous when I got to the airport. As I was standing in line at Dunkin Donuts for a caramel iced coffee, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around and saw a woman in Phi Mu letters, and she asked if I was flying to Chicago, too. I was so happy to have found a sister already, and I felt much better about the flight – we even got to sit together! When we got to O’Hare International, it took a lot of navigating to find the meeting place in Terminal 3. I had never been in an airport that big before. Luckily. I had my new friend Beatriz with me, or I would have been really lost. We ended up finding four other sisters in our terminal, and luckily, they knew where to go. It was easy to spot the group of over 50 Phi Mu sisters once we found the right terminal, and we felt right at home. We had just enough time to grab some lunch before we boarded the busses to Camp Duncan.
When we arrived at Camp Duncan, it started to rain so we all quickly got our cabin assignments and our bags and ran inside. I went to summer camp when I was younger, so seeing the cabins we would be staying in felt very nostalgic and exciting! We put our sheets on our beds and headed over to the main lodge where we were having our opening session. I recognized a few faces from Regional Officer Training, and one of the Greek Life Advisors from my school was there, too! I couldn’t wait to get started. We did a few fun ice breakers and went around the room and told everyone our name and what chapter we were from. I was nervous to stand up in front of everyone, but after I did everyone snapped and I felt like I was back in chapter meeting with all my sisters. It was cool to hear all the different accents from sisters across the country; I didn’t realize we had so many chapters!
After the big group session we broke off into our assigned chapters. Each chapter had ten members and two facilitators, but my chapter, Chapter 7, only had nine which gave us a little advantage in the low ropes course the next day. Our facilitators, Jill and Diane, told us a little about themselves and played a few games to learn each others names. We were all getting super hungry, and finally, it was time for dinner. Everyone cheered when they told us dinner would be all-you-can-eat. When we got back to our cabins everyone was exhausted from long travel days – one girl from California had traveled for 12 hours that day! We all laid in bed but stayed up for hours talking about everything from recruitment to boys to greek week. The next morning would be rough but now looking back, I wish we could have stayed up all night.