When I arrived at TCU, I never imagined I'd discover a community that would not only uplift and challenge me but also provide me with incredible opportunities. I’m so glad I discovered Frog Aides, a first-year leadership development program designed to empower incoming students with the tools they need to make a positive impact on campus. Little did I know just how profoundly it would shape my first-year experience.
Fast forward to the beginning of my junior year, and I'm now a director in this exceptional program. Watching the incredible growth of our first-year students over the course of an academic year is an opportunity I take very seriously and one that fills me with joy.
So, what exactly is Frog Aides?
Frog Aides is the Student Government Association's first-year student leadership organization that brings a cohort of 50 exceptional students together to build leadership skills. Students apply to be part of the program their first semester on campus.
The program kicks off with a simple but powerful question: "Why?" During their first meeting, Frog Aides members are encouraged to think deeply about their answers. Throughout the year, the program provides opportunities for these cohort members to refine their responses and transform their "why" into a concrete, meaningful purpose.
Frog Aides includes numerous traditions and components that define what makes it truly exceptional, including:
1. Weekly Workshops
Every week, the cohort gathers for student-led workshops covering a range of topics, from practical skills to profound leadership discussions. Some of my personal favorites include sessions on confidence, finding your people, leading from the middle, vulnerability and exploring personality types through the Enneagram and Meyers-Briggs personality tests.
2. Small Groups and Big Project
One of Frog Aides' signature traditions, this is where we transform learning into action. Guided by mentor students, the cohort works collaboratively to design and implement a project of their choice in small groups. Frog Aides projects have included the Mental Health Mile, a mile walk to raise awareness and support for mental health that has now become an annual tradition, and the TCU State Fair, a welcoming and fun event for students.
3. Community Building Activities
Frog Aides is designed to foster a sense of community among its members in various ways. Since cohort members come from all majors, they might not have the opportunity to connect otherwise. Through bonding events and weekly traditions, this program helps cohort members form lasting friendships and valuable relationships within the group. Some of my favorite events include community service activities, drive-in movies and bowling nights!
Frog Aides hosts an overnight retreat that allows cohort members to get to know each other, reflect on their goals and have fun! It’s a fantastic chance for the group to network and forge connections through dance competitions and deep conversations.
Frog Aides is undeniably one of the most exceptional programs on our campus, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to every new Horned Frog. Joining this community is an experience that will uplift, inspire and shape your journey at TCU.
Ryan Thorpe is an undergraduate junior double majoring in Journalism and Communication Studies. He is a competition reality TV connoisseur, loves garlic hummus with pita chips and is weirdly good at Mario Kart (but only on the Wii).