In August 2021, the first cohort of McCall MacBain Scholars arrived in Montreal to begin their studies at McGill University.
After a year of online interaction, our scholars met for the first time at the inaugural scholars’ retreat. The scholars, many of them new to Montréal, took tours of the McGill campus and explored the city through a scavenger hunt. Mike Standup, a spiritual healer from Kahnawá:ke First Nation, welcomed them to the lands on which they gathered.
Community-building was a core theme of the retreat, with group exercises organized by creative facilitators Andrew Kushnir and Nadia Chaney. Scholars created their own personal philosophies with performance coach Jason Sealy and learned more about how they would work on their leadership skills through the scholarship program. In a workshop with community engagement specialist Andrea Clarke, they discussed opportunities to serve the broader Montréal community during their time at McGill.
“The retreat allows scholars to spend time getting to know each other’s varied backgrounds, perspectives, and interests. Our scholars have led vastly different lives, and they are entering graduate programs in five different faculties at McGill. Understanding and embracing that diversity of perspective will help scholars push the boundaries of their own thinking and approaches to leadership. It’s fundamental to their shared learning journey over the years to come.”Natasha Sawh, Dean of the McCall MacBain Scholarships
The retreat was the first of many activities McCall MacBain Scholars will participate in during their graduate studies. Scholars are matched with experienced mentors, take part in professional coaching, and attend leadership development seminars and skill-building workshops throughout the year.