Officers, alumni, and advisers of the Eta Gamma Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at Coffeyville Community College held their annual spring semester retreat February 9-10 at Five Mile Camp in Quapaw, Oklahoma. The event featured a service project, fellowship dinner, team building exercises, swimming in the camp's olympic size pool, and an introduction to the society's new honors study topic.
The first activity on the agenda was a tour of Watered Gardens Homeless Shelter at 531 Kentucky Avenue in Joplin. The CCC participants also heard a presentation by the shelter's founder James Whitford. He shared that the shelter serves over 45,000 meals a year. The shelter began over 17 years ago and today features a daytime outreach from 9:00 a.m. until 2 p.m. while evening shelter begins at 5:30 p.m.
The shelter operates on a you earn it model where, to avoid dependency, the participants work in the shelter's shop making such items as copper bracelets. They then receive credit towards meals and lodging. Whitford shared with the Coffeyville group the five steps to "toxic charity" - appreciation, anticipation, expectation, entitlement and dependency. Whitford also shared the shelter's need for scrubs, flip flops, deodorant, white towels and wash clothes. Following the visit to Sheltered Gardens, the group enjoyed dinner at a Joplin restaurant before returning to Five Mile Camp for an evening of fellowship.
February 10 found members participating in team building exercises led by chapter alumnus Melissa Loibl of Hesston, Kansas. Melissa is also the chapter's nominee for Kansas/Nebraska Region Most Distinguished Alumnus. Adviser Linda McFate introduced Phi Theta Kappa's new honors study topic - Transformations: Acknowledging, Assessing and Achieving Change. Melissa introduced the Honors in Action Planning Rubrics while chapter officers advocated for each of the topic's nine themes. Following lunch, the officers completed their investigation of the nine themes and selected theme five, Channels of Creativity, as their 2018 Honors in Action Project.