Middle School Summer Camps Enhance Leadership

Collegiate School is host this week to two opportunities for Middle Schoolers to learn more about leadership and discover the skills needed to lead.
Twelve Collegiate rising 8th Grade students are implementing Join Us Making Progress (JUMP), a weeklong summer camp that involves team-building games, athletics and arts and crafts. 

The Middle School students, who planned and organized the camp, are mentoring and working directly with 3rd Grade students from the Peter Paul Development Center. The camp, now in its ninth year, is led by Middle School English teacher Meg Evans and Middle School science teacher Farley Macdonald. 

Students planned the camp minute by minute, and now adjust plans as needed and respond to the weather and their campers' interests and needs, says Mrs. Evans. 

“Our Collegiate counselors are practicing their leadership skills as they guide their younger buddies through jampacked mornings of classic day-camp fun,” she said. 

After the campers leave, the JUMP counselors reflect on what went well and what they want to change for the next day. 

“Reflections have included the importance of showing patience, modeling enthusiasm and positivity, listening to the young campers and taking charge when things need to be adapted,” Mrs. Evans said.

Across campus, 18 rising 6th-rising 8th Graders in the Leadership Lab Summer Quest camp, run by Middle School humanities teacher Carolyn Villanueva and Global Scholar-in-Residence John Dau, are spending the week exploring their own identities, sharing their own stories and learning from the stories of others.

“Stories teach values. Values and skills make good citizens. Good citizens make great leaders,” said Mr. Dau.

Students also are enjoying cultural wisdom tales, invited speakers, field trips and activities that reveal universal core values and leadership skills. 

On Tuesday, they heard from Adrienne Whitaker, director of business development at SOAR365, a nonprofit that helps individuals with disabilities. She spoke to them about the importance of diversity in leadership and when one is serving a community.

“We need to understand what makes people different and what makes people the same,” Ms. Whitaker said.