Pathfinders are our oldest campers - entering 10th and 11th grade. They are co-ed group (with separate sleep areas, of course). Counseled by senior staff, each Pathfinder group has a particular focus during their time at camp, while still participating in general camp activities. Many of these campers progress to become part of the staff.
Theresa is one of our 2014 Unit Leaders and recent graduate of Immaculata University. In the fall she will transition from part time to full time as the Youth Leader at her home parish. This will be her 7th summer on staff. She co-counseled the very first group of Leadership Pathfinders in 2012 and will oversee the program this summer - which is precisely why we asked her to write this post! (We sometimes refer to this unit at the Leadership Training Group (or L.T.G.) Pathfinders as an homage to our camp history. We used to call our Counselors in Training, LTGs)
Camp’s last group of Leadership Pathfinders attended third session in 2012. Each morning these campers met with their Unit Leader and learned various leadership strategies that not only strengthened their skills regarding work with others, but also enhanced their own innate leadership styles by learning from other important leaders. They took part in various exercises that taught them how to be better listeners, and observers while working with others. These exercises included the low ropes course, the rock wall, and high ropes course. They needed to work as a team to complete tasks that were more complex than other camper groups on these courses, such as blindfolded, or working as a team without speaking. Canoe trips and other team work activities such as overnights may be part of the program in the future.
Journaling was a large part of their experience and during their morning block with their Unit Leader, these campers would hear quotations by famous leaders and react to them. Their counselor also read them the novel, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I learned While Editing My Own Life” by Donald Miller, which is memoir with the motif that all people should write a story for themselves that
they can be proud of. Also in their journals, Leadership Pathfinders would write about their leadership experiences and how they thought they could become better leaders.
Service was a large part of the Leadership program. Each day there was an opportunity for service at camp or in the community. They took a trip to the Indian River Life Saving Station to do landscaping and cleaning of the museum there to prepare for a big program. From this experience, they were able to understand how they could help their community, and feel the special happiness that comes with servanthood. While at the museum, the tour guides gave them a special history lesson and tour. Other service projects included cleaning the boat yard and friendship garden, helping run the Homestead camper's Minute-to-Win-It themed social.
While their week at camp is based on leadership strategies, these campers also take part in all traditional camp opportunities such as sailing, cook-outs, bonfires, and craft shop activities.
As a former counselor of this program, I found it not only beneficial for the campers, but enlightening and encouraging to see how much they had to offer and wanted to give back to others. I am very excited to see this program return because several Leadership Pathfinders have become current staff and it is nice that they can understand some expectations of a staff leadership before they enter the staff community. I am even more elated to help run this program during the summer of 2014 because not every student, or camper understand that being a leader is a very important role, and there is a proper way to go about it. It will be exciting to meet this years Leadership Pathfinders and get them excited about leading others and more importantly, becoming the best version of themselves!
Adventure is out there!
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