A Night Of Unity, Connection Making, And Kind Interaction

By: Tiara, Riley’s Way Council Member

From big envisioning to virtual prep sessions, the first ever all-Council bonding night was held over zoom on December 15, 2021. All 3 of our Councils and Chapter were represented– shoutout to all of the members who attended! Every participant on the call not only received a gift card to purchase dinner but also the opportunity to spend their Wednesday night in true Riley’s Way fashion by meeting other kind leaders like themselves. Did I mention, the entire event was planned by the hard work of our Council members? The group brought their creativity, passion, and dedication but most importantly fostered kind collaboration along the way to execute a first of many special partnership events between our Councils and Chapter.

If you were to ask me about my favorite part of the night, I honestly would not be able to give you just a single highlight. Everything felt so uniquely empowering and exciting. It definitely was the perfect way to spend my Wednesday night!

We started off by having participants in a rotation of breakout rooms with other Council members. The goal of this portion was for members to not only begin meeting new people through a fun game of two truths and one lie, but also for authentic connection-making to be established as inspired by one of the core Riley’s Way values. In fact, something I learned was that one of my fellow members and I share a huge love for sports! I enjoyed this kickoff activity a tremendous amount because it truly set the tone for the rest of the evening’s special lineup of activities. In all of the breakout rooms I joined in on, I felt like I knew everyone as a friend already just because of how happy we were to be speaking with each other given that the conversation never stopped on its own. In reality, I was just meeting them for the first time with only 3 minutes to do so.

Next up was a fun game of kahoot based on interesting facts about our Council members which had been submitted by them prior to the event. Created and led by Isha, a member of the TYWLS Bronx + Horace Mann Council, there was nothing but laughs, surprises, and of course Riley’s Way energy during the game. It personally felt so nice getting to know all of my new fellow Council members through just a single fun fact shared about themselves. Plus, there were so many interesting ones! From traveling around the world to being a dancer since the age of two, this game definitely embodied the Riley’s Way value of treating everyone like a friend. Along with new connections being formed, joyful conversations were also being sparked after every question. Being involved in that space was just one of the many highlights I would tell you about if you were to ask.

To end the special night, participants were placed into a breakout room with their own Council to debrief and create a self-care playlist together in honor of the holiday season. After a few hours of meeting new kind leaders, bonding with the cohort of leaders we came into the event with seemed like the perfect way to top it all off. In the TYWLS Astoria + Hewitt council breakout room, we bonded over our love for music and shared our favorite go-to songs that spark motivation within us. Most importantly, we did this all while having the biggest smiles on our faces. Despite being virtual since March 2020, the values and magic of Riley’s Way have still held strong. Even through a zoom call, both kind interaction and kind leadership is possible!

Looking back on the all-Council bonding night a few months later, I still think about the impact those two hours had on us and the message it left. Whether it may be the person you’ve known for a long time or even someone new you meet today, I encourage you to center friendship and connection-making in your interaction with them today. In addition, choose love & kindness for both yourself and others as you navigate through the day because our world certainly needs it. Change starts with us and the little things we do. The world cannot become a better place if we don’t embody kindness through our own daily lives first.