1787 August Orientation is a long-standing tradition at James Madison University. It is a week-long event filled with activities and talks to better integrate the new first years at JMU and within the Harrisonburg community. When they arrive, they are greeted by over-enthusiastic students in bright yellow t-shirts. Enter the FReshman Orientation Guides, or better known as, FROGs.
FROGs lead the first-year students during Orientation and are there to help them adjust to being at JMU. How did these students get to be Freshman Orientation Guides? What most people don’t know is the extensive application process and then training. This welcoming bunch applied for the position in January, a whole semester and summer before the students would arrive. Once accepted, we had a team transition day where we spent time learning and working on scenarios. Then, we gave up our last week of summer in order to attend all-day training where we learned how to be a conversation moderator, worked more scenarios, learned the do’s and don’ts of guiding the new students, icebreakers and setting up for the week. FROGs are not paid--it’s a volunteer position.
It sounds tiring but the rewards were beyond what was expected.
When I say being a FROG was one of the best parts of my college career so far, I 110% stand behind that statement. Being a FROG gave me an opportunity to be a leader in a community that once was foreign to me but became my home. I was blessed with the best FROG group, OPA (Orientation Peer Advisor) and FROG Partner I could ask for. My hall was filled with eager first-year girls who were ready to embrace every aspect of Orientation and JMU. Sure, the move-in days were strenuous but it only motivated us further. In one week, strangers became friends and I became a mentor to 18 lovely young ladies.
Being a FROG really gave me a new appreciation for JMU for having 1787 August Orientation. Most schools do not go to such great lengths to ensure their new students feel welcomed and at home. It also gave me a new appreciation for my FROGs when I was a first-year. After being on the other side, I know what they went through and the emotions that they probably felt and I hope they know that their efforts are recognized and I’m extremely grateful that they gave up their time to welcome us.
FROG Applications just went live for next year’s batch of FROGs and I encourage anyone discerning if it’s worth their time to just apply and take that risk. You will not regret the decision and you will not be alone in the process. You will have the entire O-team behind you which includes the Office of Orientation, the OPAs, your fellow FROGs, your specific FROG Group, your partner and the Office of Residential life which includes the Hall Directors and RA’s. You will literally meet so many people who want you to succeed and will aid you to your success as a FROG. Also, you get to do all the fun activities again but this time, YOU get to wear the yellow shirts and be the leaders!