Fifty Years in the Future: A Leadership Retreat Activity

June 20, 2022 Hans Mundahl

Leadership team retreats are a great opportunity to create community and to set yourself up for success in the year ahead. For the head of school, they also present a challenge. You want to both facilitate the activities as well as participate in them! You’ll probably delegate some of the agenda to other members of the team, but you might also need an idea for something interesting, fun, and exciting to kick everything off.

The Fifty Years in the Future activity is a great way to kick off your leadership team retreat while also letting you participate in the fun. Let’s get started!


The objective of this activity is to work in small groups to create video news reports about your school from fifty years in the future. Each group of 2–3 people will be tasked with planning, filming, and editing a 2–3 minute video with their news report that will be shared with the group. Remember, the goal isn’t to create a perfect video. The goals of the activity instead are to have fun working together, to take creative risks together, and to reflect on where your school might be in the future.

What You’ll Need

Each group of 2–3 people will need the following:

  • An iPhone or Android phone
  • The iMovie or Canva app
  • Flip chart and markers for planning

You’ll also need a projector and any adapters needed to show an iPhone or iPad screen.


When you frame this activity let the group know that the goal isn’t to create a perfect video. Rather the goal is to work collaboratively together to share a vision of what your school might be like in fifty years. Each video might address the following guiding questions or you can come up with your own:

  • What were the notable successes the school has enjoyed in the last fifty years?
  • What has changed about the campus, program, students, and faculty?
  • What things have stayed the same?
  • What are the upcoming initiatives the school is planning for the next fifty years?

After presenting the goals of the activity, let folks know you’ll follow a challenge by choice philosophy for this activity. Each participant will choose their own level of participation. Some might feel comfortable in front of the camera while others might be more comfortable in a technical or planning role. All the roles are important and necessary to contribute to the success of the project!

Give participants the opportunity to ask questions and then review the timeline for this activity:

  • 5 minutes to review the goals and process for the activity
  • 20 minutes for planning
  • 20 minutes for filming
  • 15 minutes for editing
  • 10-minute break
  • 20 minutes to watch the videos and discuss

Total time needed for this activity is 1½ hours.


After you’ve presented the activity, the groups should begin planning. Encourage participants to include answers to the guiding questions you’ve framed during the warmup above.

Avoid overplanning or writing complicated scripts. These won’t be helpful when it comes to filming! Instead, focus on your answers to the guiding questions. After the planning time is complete, begin filming. Your groups might benefit from getting together to share tricks and tips during the editing time. Here’s a video that talks about how to edit a news report using iMovie on an iPhone or iPad.

Cool Down

After everyone has completed editing their videos and comes back together, it’s time to share what you’ve made! Using the projector and video adapters, show the videos and celebrate your work! After everyone has had a chance to share, consider discussing these guiding questions:

  • How did the process go? What surprised you about your work together?
  • What stood out to you about the news reports? Were there common themes?
  • How can you continue this kind of collaboration together?
  • How can you carry forward the ideas you created to your work in the coming year?

About the Author

Hans Mundahl

Hans Mundahl is the Director of Professional Development at EMA. He has been an educator since 1995 when he first stepped into the classroom as a Fulbright exchange teacher in the former East Germany. Since then Hans has done just about every job possible at an independent school from teacher to administrator. Most recently Hans was the head of school at a K-8 day school in central New Hampshire. Hans’s spare time is usually spent with his family but he is also passionate about the outdoors and protecting the environment.

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