Why Campers Become Leaders
One of the things that Camp Westminster on Higgins Lake is best known for is its ability to shape leaders to go out into the world and become good stewards. CW has a vibrant LifeWorks Leadership Program for high school students. Each summer, campers learn more about what it means to be a leader on God’s beautiful earth. We asked our current LifeWorks campers with leadership positions in their hometowns to talk about how Camp Westminster has influenced their leadership choices at home, church, and school. We’ll be spotlighting campers throughout the year. This week out camper is Grace!
What leadership position(s) do you hold and how did you get there?
I have been captain of my high school’s Varsity Dance Company for two years. I was chosen as captain because I showed loyalty to the team and worked hard to be a good role model for the other girls. My 4 years on the team allowed me to grow and learn from other leaders and helped me become the captain I am today. Showing up every day and working my hardest to become better while helping my teammates along the way allowed me to become captain a year early. I was able to then continue into my senior year with extra leadership experience.
How did you apply this in your leadership position now?
I always try to understand where someone is coming from when we are having an argument or in a difficult situation. I try my best not to only express my opinion but also include everyone in decision making, which I think is key in any leadership position.
You’ve been through the LifeWorks Leadership Program at Westminster, which means you’ve spent 2-3 summers learning about what makes a good leader. What was the most valuable thing about leadership that you learned at camp?
The most valuable thing I learned while being at Camp Westminster was learning to see things from a different perspective. Stepping into someone else’s shoes was a key part of being a leader at Camp Westminster. Kids of all ages and all different backgrounds came together for a week to experience camp. Understanding why young children feared certain challenges and loved others. Peer mediating and being a rock for the children was the most influential part for me. It showed me how important it was to be open and accepting to children of different backgrounds.
What is your ideal leadership position?
My ideal leadership position would be a Youth Pastor for a middle school and high school youth group. I have been heavily impacted by my youth pastors and I want to have that same impact on youth in church. Church is a place where kids can feel safe and be themselves and I would love to be the one to encourage that.
When you think of a good leader, what qualities do you think of?
When I think of a good leader, I think of someone who takes charge and knows what to do in difficult situations. I also think of someone you can go to and is comforting instead of overbearing. Leaders are good with people and are creative thinkers.
Do you think any of those qualities are ones needed to be a counselor? Why or why not?
Being a counselor requires many qualities of a good leader. Working with children requires the ability to take charge and peer mediate efficiently. Being personable with parents and children is an important trait to have to earn the trust of kids (and their parents!) to be their parental figure for one or two weeks. Also, comforting kids when they are upset or homesick can make or break a child’s experience at camp.
What advice would you give to younger campers just starting their journey in the LifeWorks Leadership Program?
My advice to younger campers starting the LifeWorks Leadership Program would be: take it all in. Your two weeks a year go by so fast and it’s important to learn as much as you can about yourself, others, kids, and God. Being a leader is a difficult but rewarding position to have, so take it seriously and know that kids look up to you. Being in LifeWorks will give you opportunities in the real world and skills not everyone will have. Don’t forget to have fun and make ever-lasting friendships!!
We thank Grace for sharing with us her experience at Camp Westminster on Higgins Lake. We’d also like to thank all of the Camp Westminster staff and its supporters who have made stories like Grace’s possible.