Fratastic Weekend

August 31, 2010

This past weekend I attended a Sigma Chi event and wrote a blog post about it. I felt it was necessary to repost it, since it was all about Sigma Chi and discusses some of the reasons why I’m proud to be a Sigma Chi. The original post can be found here: http://blog.jacobadamcook.com/2010/08/30/Fratastic-Weekend.aspx

This past weekend my fraternity had an alumnus event (Scott Hale Memorial) to raise money for a scholarship we give out. It is a weekend long event consisting of hanging out at the fraternity house, golf tournament, banquet and a silent auction. A lot of people come from out of town to attend the event and for some it is the only time of the year I might get to see em. Jennifer and I both look forward to the event and getting to see everyone.

What year is it, 2002?
Friday night there was a party at the fraternity house that anyone could attend. This allowed all of us to hang out, chit chat and figure out what everyone had been up to the last few months. Its always a little strange going to the fraternity house late at night when you haven’t been in school in 5 years. It was like old times sitting on the deck, remembering old stories and basically making fun of each other for 5 hours. During those 5 hours there were two events that made me realize it wasn’t 2002. The reason we sat outside was because we felt like the music being played sucked and was to loud. You had to sit outside just to hear the person next to you talk (crazy young college kids with their loud music). Another event that gave it away came later in the night when a group of 10-15 of us were sitting on the deck chatting it up. A group of probably 5-10 sorority girls came walking out of the fraternity house and onto the deck as if they were coming to talk and hang out with us. Our wives were sitting on the opposite side of the deck chatting and watching the whole time. The group of sorority girls walked to the deck and got about half way across when they realized that we were 28-32 years old and not 18-21. They stopped huddled up and quickly turned around and went back inside the fraternity house. Needless to say our wives got a good laugh out of it.

Golf/Banquet
Saturday I played in the golf tournament and had a blast. My partner and I (Todd Thompson) played really well and came in 8th place. Our group had 6 people and it was really nice hanging out with those guys, playing 18 holes of golf for 6 hours. That night they had the banquet and silent auction. The banquet went well and we just continued hanging out like we used to. Its only the 2nd time Jennifer and I have stayed out past midnight since we found out Jennifer was pregnant about a year ago (Inception was a really long movie).

Just A Great Weekend
The entire weekend was a lot of fun and I can’t wait for next year. You would think that it might be a little weird seeing people you haven’t seen in a year, but it wasn’t at all. There is something about my fraternity brothers that just seems natural. Even if it has been a year or more since I’ve seen em, it never seems that way. As soon as we get together its like old times and feels like we haven’t missed a thing. In Hoc brothers and I’ll see ya next year.

Always Proud,
Jacob Cook

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A Look Back at Sigma Chi “Summer 2010”

August 27, 2010

Sigma Chi has an official Flickr page where you can find pictures of various Sigma Chi events. Today they updated their page with a large group of pictures from events over the summer. They’ve created two sets of photos, one for Ground Council and another for the Balfour Leadership Training Workshop.

Personally I’m a big fan of stuff like this, so thank you to whoever put it all together.

Jacob Cook

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Horizons 2011 Planning Has Already Begun

August 24, 2010
Horizons

Horizons

Just last month the last Summer Horizons 2010 session ended. It seems crazy to think about, but the planning for Horizons 2011 has already begun. This month the Cornerstone board started their planning with conference calls to decide any new curriculum and improvements for next year. They’ll be working on these decisions throughout the year, including their most important “face-to-face” meetings in October.

It must be an incredibly difficult task to improve a leadership program that receives nothing but praise. I can’t recall one time hearing a negative comment about Horizons, except for “I didn’t get picked to go this year”. The Sigma Chi Horizons Board definitely deserves a lot of credit and praise for their work.

If you’ve ever attended Horizons, I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below. Also, they’re numerous blog posts about Horizons here on the ShareSigmaChi blog if you’re interested in reading more.

[update 8.25.2010] Just received the following information from Greg Morgan (Director of Leadership Programs)

Here are a few things from this summer that I feel are notable:

  1. There were four undergraduate sessions, which is one more than last year.
  2. There were 197 undergraduates who participated, which was up from the 144 last year.
  3. Every colony that was installed in the past year had at least one chapter brother attend Horizons.

I can tell you that there will be four sessions next summer and the event will remain at the Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort outside of Salt Lake City, UT.

In Hoc,

Jacob Cook

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BLTW From A Faculty Members Perspective

August 19, 2010

The following is a guest post written by Chris Brooks who has attended the Balfour Leadership Training Workshop 8 years in a row. The last 4 years have been as a faculty member. Chris will discuss BLTW and why this past year at Chapel Hill was special.

BLTW 2010

BLTW 2010

One of the greatest things about the Balfour Leadership Training Workshop is that every brother’s experience is a little different. Actually, every brother’s individual experience changes every year as well.his summer marked my 8th BLTW in a row, including my 4th year on faculty. I classify myself as someone in-between experience levels. I am not a veteran facilitator nor am I a rookie at Workshop, I am simply a brother who goes every year to enrich the lives of undergraduates and, selfishly, to enrich my own life.

So, how was BLTW this year from my eyes? It was truly amazing. Other than dining hall lines that never seemed to end and a few shenanigans early in the week, this workshop topped my list of favorites. I will explain why, but first I want to thank Chris Brown and the entire BLOB, as well as Headquarters Staff, for ensuring every participant had a great time!

So, why has this workshop topped my list? Let’s start off with the curriculum. Even though some might view BLTW as a chance to come and party in a new city with a ton of brothers, the real meat of BLTW is the curriculum and what you learn while you are there. I really felt that this year’s curriculum was a slam dunk. We spent the right amount of time on nuts and bolts training, but we didn’t leave out the leadership theory that is so important to our undergraduate officers. The best part about this: they coexisted beautifully in practice and design. In addition to our small group learning, I heard brothers continue discussions in between groups, on their way to meals, and while eating pizza at SigFest. That marks great curriculum, when the discussions continue beyond the “classroom.”

BLTW Faculty

BLTW Faculty

One of my favorite parts of this year’s workshop was the return of the distinguished faculty program, now known as the distinguished visitor program. One thing we always pride ourselves on in Sigma Chi is the great success so many of our alumni have had, but it is not very common for brothers (especially undergraduate brothers) to meet these remarkable men. The return of this program made that possible this year. I personally met two of these brothers this year, Watts Wacker and Sam Haskell. While their biographies are impressive, it was what they offered in development that made a difference.

Brother Wacker gave a presentation that challenged how we thought about what we call leadership. He asked brothers what they thought about various leaders through history and challenged us all to continue our growth. The best thing I heard from Brother Wacker came after his presentation to the Magister division when he said that to be successful, “You have to learn to love to learn.” It seems like such a simple concept but many people today give up on learning and developing themselves when they graduate college, or in some cases long before that. Challenging yourself to learn is a cornerstone of Sigma Chi teachings and this quote summed it up perfectly. (On a side note, along with being inspirational, Brother Wacker is extremely funny and an amazing brother. I encourage you to meet him if you can, but at least look him up on YouTube and see one of his speeches.)

I met Brother Haskell when he popped into our small group room during an evening session. As many facilitators do, I promised the brothers in my group we would get done early so they could get to SigFest and enjoy their nights. A clear indication of the value of Brother Haskell’s presence was that even though we got out later than planned, the brothers, including me, wanted to stay even longer to hear him speak. Brother Haskell was the Magister at Mississippi during his undergraduate years and he still speaks of that time with passion most men don’t exhibit over anything but Monday Night Football. He ignited the room with making a difference in the lives of their pledges and being there for them through their lives. I was thankful to hear him speak as it inspired me to continue making a difference in any way I can. I have since purchased and started reading his book, Promises I Made My Mother and so far am enthralled. His inspiration continues and having met him in person makes it an even better experience.

So, those are some of the big picture reasons I loved BLTW this year, but of course there are many other reasons. BLTW provides an annual reunion of all of my greatest friends. I might only see some of my brothers once a year, but I look forward to it for 365 days until it comes around again. This year was no different and I am reenergized in those friendships. The brotherhood never fades from those friendships and BLTW is proof of that. It is also a time for new friendships to be cultivated and now I can’t wait to see even more people next year! And, who doesn’t love to see 1800+ brothers in one place? I know that downtown economy of Chapel Hill was certainly stimulated!

This post doesn’t begin to cover an entire BLTW experience. I could go on for years about why I go, where my dedication comes from, why I love the torture of heat and humidity every year, but I think you get it. If you don’t, I encourage you to go next year. I cannot imagine a summer without BLTW and look forward to number nine next year. I want to, once again, thank everyone who blew this year out of the water, including every brother in attendance. I cannot wait to see how next year improves. Also, a quick shout out to my Magister small group! I want to close with the final line of the closing video (Great Job Ansley):

“What will you do? What will your verse be? Will you guard our honor? This Is Sigma Chi!”

In Hoc My Brothers,

Chrispy
@ChrispySig


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Sigma Chi Fantasy Football League

August 18, 2010

Once again its time for some Fantasy Football. I’ve set up leagues in the past and they have always been a hit, so I figured why not do it again. This time a couple of Sigs have taken the responsibility to set up 2 leagues so everyone can have a chance to play. Below is the info for the two leagues. Please feel free to pass the info along so we can make sure and get both leagues filled before the regular season starts.

Sigma Chi

Sigma Chi

Both leagues were set up at Yahoo. Just go here to reach the sign up page: http://sports.yahoo.com/fantasy (Once you get signed up just put the League Id and Password of the league you want to join)

[update 8.31.2010 10:45pm: 19 spots taken and 9 spots currently available]
League Name: Sigma Chi Fantasy Football League
League Id: 483623
Password: inhoc
Contact Person: Jared Dehority

[update 8.18.2010 2:38pm: League is full. No spots available]
League Name: Sigma Chi Premier League (Draft is Saturday 8.28.2010)

League Id: 479799
Password: runkle
Contact Person: Mark Rafferty

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In Hoc,
Jacob Cook

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Sigma Chi Peterson Chapter Made The Local Paper

August 17, 2010

Last week nearly 2,000 Sigs gathered at Chapel Hill for the Sigma Chi Balfour Leadership Training Workshop. The fraternity uses this event to award chapters for their hard work and commitment to excellence. My undergraduate chapter Theta Chi at Arkansas State was one of 3 lucky chapters to receive a Gold Peterson. All of the alum at our chapter were thrilled to here the news. The award alone is great news, but almost as good was what happened earlier this week.

As most fraternity members know, usually when you see a fraternity in the news its for something not so pleasant. So of course I was a bit nervous on Monday the first time somebody said “hey, I saw your fraternity had a write up in the paper today.”. Thankfully they immediately followed that up with “congrats on the award”.

Sigma Chi - Theta Chi Chapter

Sigma Chi - Theta Chi Chapter

Here is the article in case you’d like to read it: Jonesboro Sun article

I’d also like to encourage every Sigma Chi chapter to let your local newspaper know about the great things your chapter is doing. Whether thats a canned food, blood or clothing drive, or maybe you are keeping the highways clean. It can’t hurt letting the community know what you’re doing. Sure most people have no idea what a Gold Peterson is or what it means. But they all seemed to realize it was an accomplishment and felt it warranted a “congratulations”.

In Hoc,

Jacob Cook

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SigmaChi.org Redesign Survey

August 10, 2010

The following is an official survey sent out by the SigmaChi.org redesign task force.

“Sigma Chi is undertaking an initiative to redesign, update and improve the Fraternity’s website, http://www.sigmachi.org. As part of the initiative, the redesign task force would like to have your feedback and thoughts on what you would like to see your website look like, function like and feel like. Please take a moment to share your thoughts through our brief survey. Please feel free to forward on to anyone else you think may want to share their thoughts. The link is immediately below.”

SIGMACHI.ORG Redesign Survey

It only takes 2 minutes to fill out and would be very beneficial for the fraternity. So please fill out the survey and answer everything as truthfully as possible. This is your chance to let the fraternity know what you want the fraternity’s website to look like and what content to contain. If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact Michael Church – Michael.Church@sigmachi.org

In Hoc,

Jacob Cook

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