What values are essential for tomorrow’s leaders? This is a question that is top-of-mind for the directors of CH-CH’s Running Brook Camps’ Leadership Training Program, and the lessons they have focused can benefit leaders of any age.
Each summer, campers from 13 to 15 years old attend the Leadership Training Program (LTP) to have fun while gaining valuable leadership skills and experience. Running Brook Camps’ program directors have defined six core values that they believe are essential for all great leaders to integrate into their work.
Skill #1: Creativity
Whether developing something new or working to problem solve, leaders need to have a strong sense of creativity.
How it’s achieved at camp: Members of the LTP work with the younger campers to create new games. They recently created a cooperative game called “Feed the Monster,” where the younger campers need to use teamwork to accomplish their goal of feeding soccer balls to the monster (soccer goals). They are using their creativity to get the campers moving and working together.
Skill #2: Cooperation
The ability to work together is crucial for leaders in all areas, and with all people.
How it’s achieved at camp: Members of the LTP learn to create an environment that focuses on inclusion, freedom from competition, and one where campers are encouraged to create and explore. During games and activities, LTPs are encouraged to reinforce the importance of having fun and being silly, while working together to achieve the group goal.
Skill #3: Challenge
Setting goals and challenging yourself is what helps leaders grow.
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How it’s achieved at camp: By working with the younger campers to set goals before an activity, members of the LTP help other campers challenge themselves. On the ropes course, one camper’s challenge may be putting both feet on the ladder, while another’s may be climbing to a platform 60 feet up in a tree. The individual goals for different campers are all celebrated equally.
Skill #4: Community
The ability to connect with both individuals and their community as a whole is a key leadership skill.
How it’s achieved at camp: We believe that camp is special because of the people who are there, and the relationships we develop throughout the summer months can have a lasting impact on our campers. LTPs are given opportunities to develop and sustain connections with individual campers, with groups of campers, and with the camp community as a whole.
Skill #5 Compassion:
When it comes to working with children and leading others, we believe that compassion is often the most important skill a leader can possess.
How it’s achieved at camp: Members of the LTP learn compassion by gaining knowledge and understanding of campers’ various behaviors and presentations, while having the opportunity to practice communication and interventions that display patience, support, and acceptance.
Skill #6 Celebration:
Celebrating successes and failures, both big and small, is a valuable leadership skill.
How it’s achieved at camp: Member of the LTP encourage campers to celebrate moments when they have been successful, as well as finding the positives when they have come up short, and then using that experience in making another attempt. LTPs also have ongoing opportunities to self-reflect on their own successes and failures in a supportive group context.
Just as the future is changing rapidly, the Leadership Training Program at Running Brook Camps is continuing to evolve. The training of our future leaders is one of the most important responsibilities we have at camp. We are excited for this opportunity to continue to create a fun, engaging program that teaches these critical skills that our LTPs will use for a lifetime.