The Ascend Retreat

The Ascend Network (TAN) organizes Ascend, an overnight retreat, focused on redefining leadership through eye-opening discussions, inspiring speakers and team building activities. This retreat aims to bridge the gap between student leaders of various disciplines; regardless of ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, sex, creed, or colour. Now in our 4th year, over 100 students will hone their leadership skills, form meaningful peer support groups and will be encouraged to take on local initiatives with a global mindset. Over the course of 3 days and 3 nights, delegates will embark on a leadership retreat at Camp Trillium Rainbow Lake from May 6-8 2018. 

Why Ascend exists

Founded by students and proudly student-run, Ascend aims to provide the leadership training, network and inspiration necessary to develop agents of change in our community. The retreat offers a myriad of resources, meaningful connections and a resoundingly positive environment for students to transcend comfort zones. A perfect first step for students looking to begin their leadership journey, Ascend provides a framework for recognizing, realizing and refining the leader within. 



A snapshot of the retreat

ASCEND tackles leadership with an experiential and learner-centered pedagogy. Delegates will be divided into session groups facilitated by a Mentor pair and assisted by a Vanguard. The group will be guided through a series of sessions, consisting of activities and thought provoking discussions where they will be encouraged to share and reflect on one another’s experiences. To guide the development of these skills, every delegate is given a manual rich in activities, discussion topics, self-quizzes and guidelines. This manual is the comprehensive resource used to lead the various sessions throughout the retreat. To supplement the learning experience, there will be a variety of exciting and interactive social events including inspiring speakers, canoeing, a talent show and a bonfire by the lake. 

The Details

Where: Camp Trillium-Rainbow Lake, 433 Thompson Rd W. Waterford, ON N0E 1Y0. Transportation to and from York University will be provided.

When: Monday May 6 - Thursday May 9, 2018.

Other Details: The campsite is wheelchair accessible and entirely nut-free. Accommodations are cabin-style, with electricity, bunk beds and washrooms in each cabin. Dietary restrictions and preferences can be accommodated upon request. 



Perks of Ascending

  • Certificate for 96 hours of leadership development

  • YU-Connect hours to supplement Co-Curricular Transcript

  • Letter of Recommendation

  • Exclusive Membership in The Ascend Network & access to our Alumni Network

  • Ascend Manual, T-shirt and Care Package in a Drawstring Bag


Delegates are the focal point of our retreats. Our retreat's programming is carefully designed to maximize the growth of our Delegates as leaders. At the retreat, Delegates will be led through discussion-oriented sessions which are facilitated by our trained Mentor teams.

Whether this is your first step towards personal development, or you want to supplement your existing leadership skills, attending as a Delegate is highly recommended.

Mentors are the gears that make Ascend run. They deliver the retreat's programming by facilitating activities and discussions within their session groups. Each session group is composed of a group of Delegates with a pair of mentors. 

We provide our mentors with training, and a manual that is filled with leadership tools, activities, and thought-provoking discussion topics which they can utilize in guiding their Delegates through the retreat's programming.

Mentors are responsible for facilitating meaningful discussions, encouraging bonding within and across their groups, and ensuring the safety of all Delegates.

Alumni Staff are the oil that make Ascend's gears turn smoothly. Staff work alongside the Executive team to ensure that the retreat runs as smoothly as possible by providing support wherever necessary. 

Staff are responsible for coordinating transitions within the programming by communicating with Mentors from different session groups. They are also responsible for facilitating large group activities during the retreat. Staff contribute towards the safety of our Delegates by providing emergency support. They also bring the noise to Ascend by promoting hype and cheering.

At the retreat, Alumni Staff will also be provided with a platform where they can interact with the Delegates while sharing details about their transformative journey through Ascend, and sharing their own personal story.