Student Leadership Johns Creek recently kicked off its ninth year of leadership training in unique and COVID-friendly fashion.
Normally the kick-off retreat is held at a local escape room. But to be safe during the pandemic, the group opted to virtually travel to Eastern Europe to participate in virtual game rooms.
This year’s group includes more than 100 students representing Innovation Academy, Johns Creek, Centennial, Chattahoochee and Northview high schools.
“This year our 103 students didn’t miss a beat and escaped the games in record time while learning about their group mates for the upcoming year,” Executive Director Irene Sanders said.
The students said it was a great way to start the new school year and meet their fellow members of the leadership program.
“The retreat was a nice way to come back together and have fun in teams with a common goal — to break out of the escape room,” said Anastacia Stoyanov a second-year Student Leadership Johns Creek student from Chattahoochee High School, “It was an amazing experience thanks to our old friends in Lithuania with whom we created this tradition of virtual escape game retreats.”
Sanders said that when considering a virtual escape room, the group realized it didn’t have to stay in the Atlanta area. With that in mind, they began searching throughout the country and beyond and discovered a group called Lost Escape Games in Lithuania.
“The owners worked with us to plan out a fantastic virtual retreat experience that was nearly 5,000 miles away and a seven-hour time zone difference — and it worked perfectly,” Sanders said. “Our hosts at Lost Escape patiently worked with 16 different groups of students, helping them thrugh the process of escaping in a set amount of time.”
The virtual retreat kicked off the ninth year of Student Leadership Johns Creek, which Sanders said will continue with monthly in-person program days. The first-year students will work on community projects. The second-year students will work on creating an on-line portfolio including a Linked-In profile and resume.
The students will also shadow a business professional in a field of study they are interested in pursuing. The Student Leadership Johns Creek Ambassadors will also facilitate candidate debates in the mayor and Johns Creek City Council races in September.
The two-year SLJC program is managed by an advisory committee under the direction of Leadership Johns Creek, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, in collaboration with Fulton County Schools.
Aside from managing the day-to-day functions, Sanders provides leadership by example to all of the students and the community. She is a Johns Creek resident and mother of two graduates of Johns Creek high schools and also serves as a Johns Creek Planning Commissioner.
Applications for the 2022-23 class will be available Dec. 1.