Staples pg 3 11-1-18


Leaders in the Making
Using a grant from the Staples Foundation, the Windham-Tolland 4-H Camp was able to help more than 100- local teens develop leadership skills. Courtesy photo.

POMFRET — Early this year, the Windham-Tolland 4-H Camp was awarded a $5,000 grant by Staples Foundation, through a program called 2 Million & Change.  This program allows Staples associates around the globe to direct more than $2 million in donations each year to not for profits they support.  
Camp Director Heather Logee, was very excited to receive this funding to enhance the leadership training aspect of Windham Tolland’s 4-H camp program.  She was able to purchase leadership activity supplies and curriculum materials and to contract with Kim Aycock, MSTS, to conduct a series of three interactive workshops this year with camper teens . Aycock is a North Carolina educator who has more than 30 years’ experience in year-round and seasonal summer camp positions and as a middle/high school and college level teacher.
The first participants in this training were a group of 12 teens who were participating in the Teen Republic meeting in April.  This group provides camper teens an opportunity to connect during the off season without technology and focuses on building leadership skills and community service.
The second group to benefit was the teen leaders for the 2018 camp season as part of their staff orientation week.  This program is open to teens who have completed 9th, 10th or 11th grades.  Sixty teens participated this year, assigned to work with cabin counselors and assisting counselors in the 15 different activity programs that are offered during camp weeks. 
At Teen Weekend in October at the camp, 30 teens took part in hiking, pumpkin carving, cupcake decorating, community service project work at camp,  choosing theme weeks for camp next year and leadership training.
After Aycock’s workshop, each participant had three different chances to lead a group of their peers in some way during the rest of the day.  She asked each of the teens to reflect on what leaders in their lives look like to them, to reflect on what qualities are needed for leadership and friendship skill building, and to think about  how each of them could be leaders among their peers and family.  Her mantra is everyone can become a leader if you take the time to analyze and develop the qualities and skills that good leaders possess.
Tyler Waterman from Southbury  and Ben Torre from Brooklyn were two of the teens at the workshop.  Ben has attended camp for 4 years and  was a Teen Leader for the past two.  Tyler has five years of  camp attendance under his belt.  Both said that camp encourages leadership growth among campers of all ages.  They reported that they felt that they had both matured personally and developed confidence to be comfortable in assuming leadership roles in their school, family and camp lives as a result of their camp attendance.  Whether as an experienced camper or as a formal teen leader, both stated that helping younger campers with homesickness, behavioral issues or social skills has been a rewarding part of their own camp experience.  


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