Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Training Leaders of Tomorrow

While camping is usually thought of as a place to go in order for your kids to have fun and a safe environment, I believe it is that, but it is also a place where leaders are grown and mentored. This is done through meaningful programing and through random circumstances. We understand that the future needs leaders and they need to be better than we are at leading. That is the only way we will improve as a culture and a world. Everyone must also understand that they can be a leader because leaders are taught, not born.

Here at CFA we start the leadership training before they actually receive the title of Leader-In- Training. Even at age 8 they are learning the most important part of being a leader and something that takes a significant amount of time to develop -- communicating. They come in trying to be part of a community. You can't be a leader without a community and being part of that community. The best aspect about this is that the campers are acting like who they truly are. We hear it all the time, "When I am camp I am the person I want to be." The best leaders know who they are and stay true to themselves.

The next thing that happens at camp is failure. You are probably wondering why I put that on there, but it is the truth. People learn from failure (89% of moms also think it is healthy to fail). A lot of people don't want to fail or at least wave a magic wand and make it disappear, especially when it comes to children (40% of mothers would wave that magic wand). I say failure is perfectly natural and you will benefit greatly from it, especially at summer camp where there are kind, wonderful young adults there to help a child when they fail and be there when they are crying.

Are we setting your child up for failure? Nope, but we do put them in situations where they could possibly fail (climbing wall, high ropes, archery, etc...). All our cabins do low ropes, which a wonderful place where it is obvious that children learn from failure. Low ropes consists of elements that take mental and physical strength to succeed in them. Almost everyone fails at least once at low ropes and it is perfectly ok because they just get up and try again until they succeed. Society tries to shove perfection down our throats, when it is actually growth that is important because none of us are close to being perfect.

As kids get older, they are able to process better and understand what they are learning. That is why we have leadership programs called LIT (leaders-in-training) and CIT (Counselor-in-training). This is when they start doing and learning the nuts and bolts of being a leader and the type of leader they are. They start learning that leadership isn't about them and it is about the community that you serve (in our case the kids). It takes a long time to realize the world isn't about you and it is something that I am still learning and I am 26. There is more too it but it is hard to summarize a two-week or three-week intense program into a blog.

Camp fosters leaders and help them grow in wonderful human beings. Sending your kid to camp will not only help them become better people, but hopefully someday will help the world become a better place.

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