Can You Please Explain: LEAD Week
We started LEAD week in 2013 when we restructured our SWiM Program. When we moved away from a SWiM program where high schoolers came for two weeks in a row to serve as SWiMs, we replaced it with one week of training and one week of service. LEAD Week was developed to provide this training.
However, LEAD Week has evolved into something that is not just for SWiMs. It's for any high-school aged camper that wants a little something different out of their camp experience. LEAD Week campers are given the opportunity to engage with camp in a way that is distinct from all the other weeks of camp we offer. It's purpose is three-fold: to provide high schoolers with leadership training and service opportunities, to train SWiM's and those interested in one day applying for summer staff, and to give campers the opportunity to experience camp with a smaller, more intimate group of peers and staff.
LEAD Week is designed to train young leaders to prepare them to serve in their churches, schools, and communities. LEAD Week is not just about how much fun we can pack into a week of camp--although we have our share of fun--it's about learning to see yourself as a leader and focusing your attention outward to serve those around you. Over the course of a week, LEAD Week campers will participate in a number of service projects: whether that is cleaning up a wilderness campsite across the lake, working on a project for Fowler, or helping out one of our neighbors in town. All LEAD Week campers finish the week with 40 hours of community service. Many campers choose to use these community service hours to fulfill school credit or to use on college applications. We are happy to fill out any necessary forms or paperwork so this community service can be useful to you. We believe life is about so much more than any one of us, so we want to do our part in helping high schoolers live that out.
LEAD Week is also designed to provide instruction to high schoolers in what it looks like to run a week of camp. This is useful to those who are interested in being SWiMs later in the summer, but it's also useful to anyone who is considering applying to Summer Staff at any point in the future. While coming to LEAD Week in no way gives you preference in our consideration for summer staff positions, it will help to educate you on some of the practicals and logistics about running a camp. You will learn about how to run a low ropes session, how to make sure everyone stays safe on a hike off camp property, and what it looks like to lead and After Meal Song, among many other things. For SWiMs, this training is crucial to making your service as a SWiM meaningful, effective, and fun.
Finally, as our only all-high-school alternative to Triple A, LEAD Week offers high schoolers the chance to experience a week of camp with a smaller group of people in a more intimate way. LEAD Week usually doesn't have more than 40 campers and because of this smaller group size, there is a level of closeness that develops among LEAD Week campers that doesn't happen with Triple A. Our Discovery times are more oriented around group discussions and conversation and we do more activities all together as a group. As staff, we plan LEAD Week to be special, because we can do things during LEAD Week that we can't do any other week of the summer due to the unique enthusiasm of LEAD Week campers and the small group size. We won't give too much away, but let's just say we have some AWESOME things planned for LEAD Week this summer. You don't want to miss out!