One question that we get asked by prospective students at Unbound concerns the Ascend team and their meeting schedule.
Ascend teams are the core building blocks of the Unbound community and essential elements in the Ascend program itself. These teams of 7-10 students communicate through a variety of methods but the regular virtual team meetings are the glue that holds everything else together.
Some will read the word ‘virtual’ and groan inwardly. Do we really need more Zoom calls in our lives? Fear not, the Ascend team calls are not your average, boring Zoom meeting. They’re led by expertly-trained coaches and structured so that no one is left in the proverbial “corner”.
So how often do Ascend teams meet? And what do they actually meet about?
Monthly Team Calls
Ascend teams meet at least once a month for a team-only call.
In this call, they’ll go over the various projects they’re working on individually and provide status updates. If there are victories to be celebrated, they’ll celebrate! If there are obstacles that need to be overcome, they’ll coach each other through these various challenges.
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Unbound runs the Ascend program to help students thrive in the real world. Even the Ascend team meetings are structured to teach important life skills like peer coaching.
Monthly Expert-Led Webinars
In addition to this team-only call, students in Ascend also attend a monthly webinar featuring a subject-matter expert. Past speakers include missionaries, business consultants, ministers, writers, former law enforcement officials, and more. Whether the student’s interest aligns with the subject matter expert’s expertise, there’s always something to glean from these webinars.
Speakers at the monthly Ascend webinars don’t just speak about their area of expertise. They also apply lessons from the field to general life skills so that every student can learn something immediately actionable to their life, regardless of their interests.
Of course, these are just the “official” monthly team meetings that Ascend teams conduct. Much more communication happens through slack and unofficial meetings scheduled for special projects. For example, each Ascend team spends time crafting a team “ethos statement” to help align their goals and priorities. You can imagine that much communication happens around this project!
Ascend team meetings help students with their individual goals and projects. They provide opportunities for students to give encouragement, feedback, and peer coaching to their fellow students in the program. This helps students with their projects in the short-term but also helps them develop invaluable leadership and relational skills that they will use for the rest of their life.
Ascend team meetings also help build cohesive culture within the team so that the community built online can flourish in-person and vice versa. Unbound’s student experience includes both online and in-person elements (and it always has). Students meet each other at events, go home and develop their community online through slack and video calls and then meet again for the next Ascend event with a more robust connection established.
Whether it’s a group coaching call or a monthly subject matter expert-led webinar, the Ascend team meeting schedule is designed to bring high value to the student experience with minimal scheduling obligations.
Jace Bower is a Copywriter for Unbound. An Unbound alumnus, he has experienced firsthand the powerful advantages of doing college differently and participating in an intentional community. Jace graduated with his bachelor’s degree in History in 2016 and has worked in restaurant management and marketing since then. He also served on the Unbound Student Cabinet in 2019.
The author of two books and a semi-regular blogger, Jace can often be found doing something with words. When he’s not, chances are he’s reading about theology, listening to music, or playing pool or tennis with his wife Shannon in their Virginia home.