As the summer nears an end, there may be no better way to wrap up the camp season than with the Methodist University’s General Shelton Leadership Camp.
Through the Lura S. Tally Center for Leadership Development, the camp is hosting 26 rising high school students for a one-week summer residential experience right on MU’s campus.
The General Shelton Leadership Camp is helping campers expand their knowledge and skills of what it takes to be an effective leader through General H. Hugh Shelton’s cornerstones of values-based leadership – honesty, integrity, compassion, diversity, and social responsibility.
“We don’t want to teach them that leadership is about power or force,” said Dr. Mark Kline, camp director and professor of Psychology. “Instead, leadership is about having a vision for what the world should be and then having the skills and tools to bring that about in a values-based way.”
The campers have been working on a number of skills including accountability, team building, public speaking, and goal setting. While some of this development is being done across Methodist University’s academic buildings and facilities, some of it is being accomplished off-campus across the Fayetteville community.
For example, one of the days will allow campers to travel together to Kingdom Impact Global Ministries, where they will volunteer their time with Second Harvest Food Bank – a non-profit organization that provides food for children at risk of hunger.
Another off-campus activity includes the high ropes course at Camp Rockfish where students had to navigate through various high-level courses, helping them learn the value of teamwork, encouragement, and trying something outside of your comfort zone.
“I’m trying out for my school’s soccer team as a goalie, which is a bigger leadership position on the pitch. I came to General Shelton Leadership Camp to improve my communication skills and work on not being so quiet all the time. I’ve learned the important of not just getting my point across, but as a leader, you have to make sure everyone is able to make their opinion known,” said Chase Gibbs, a junior from Fayetteville.
As impactful as the week can be for the campers themselves, let it be no surprise that the camp instructors will leave the week with plenty of valuable moments.
“Each instructor has their own style. Sometimes, I like to challenge the ideas that they bring by throwing another perspective at them. A powerful moment often times comes from throwing another idea out there and seeing how these young minds bring their ideas and what they’re learning together to make their own conclusion,” said Rocio Serna, camp administrator.
The return of the General Shelton Leadership Camp is coming on the heels of back-to-back missed summers (2020, 2021) due to the global pandemic – an impressive feat for the camp organizers and the campers themselves.
It is worth noting that the General Shelton Leadership Camp would not be possible without help from our community. The Brownie Dickson Schaefer and Patricia Huske Schaefer Memorial Fund for Youth of Cumberland Community Foundation, Inc. donated $2,610 to the camp to help reduce the cost for local students to attend.
If your student missed out on this year’s camp, it’s never too early to consider it for the summer of 2023. You can view more information about the camp on the General Shelton Leadership Camp webpage.