School camp is an incubator for building leadership skills. So how best do we develop a camp program to create leaders of tomorrow? We explore some of the key elements to successfully fostering leadership skills at camp.
Set the scene
Building confidence and fostering leadership go hand in hand and it’s important to set the scene early so every student feels comfortable and is given an opportunity to experience responsibility.
Some ideas include:
- Brainstorm what makes a good leader, honing in on key areas like communication, honesty, collaboration, fairness, planning and commitment.
- Create a bank of words such as trust, adventure, challenge, harmony, involvement, friendship, flexibility, respect, awareness, personal development, curiosity, resilience, cooperation to incorporate into activities.
- Encourage students to acknowledge the strengths / challenges of their fellow campers.
- Establish a supportive environment where all students feel safe, cared for and able to contribute to the overall camp experience.
Play team building games
Choose from the large selection of Coffs Coast Adventure Centre’s team building activities. These include both on and offsite activities and you can choose options to cater for the specific needs of your students.
You might like to also incorporate some tried and tested favourite games such as:
- Tied up in knots. Form several circles each with 10-12 students. Everyone puts their right hand into the centre and holds hands with someone across the circle. Repeat with the other hand and a different person. Once knotted, the goal is to unravel without breaking the connections.
- Zipped up, line up. This is a non-verbal game where everyone needs to line up in a particular order according to a criteria, for example alphabetically according to their favourite sport, street name, pet’s name, place they were born.
Give them space
Naturally safety is a crucial element of every school camp, however, it’s also important to create an environment where students step out of their comfort zone and do their own thing. Less structured activities can also help develop leadership skills.
- Incorporate down time with ideas for things students can do.
- Form random groups (use a pack of cards, names in a hat) and give the students a period of time where they simply hang out together.
- Have a bag of sports equipment at the ready for students to play their own games.
Change it up
Students often confuse leadership with loud, bossy behaviour, when the truth is the absolute opposite. Recognising every student has the ability to lead and be part of change empowers learning.
- Plan activities that:
- Enable all students to take a turn to lead.
- Enable all students to take a turn to follow.
- Promote creativity and innovation.
- Enable students to think beyond the obvious.
- Take students beyond their comfort zone.
- Allow for reflection.
Encourage blue sky thinking
The less formal vibe of school camp is a perfect opportunity to focus on global citizenship.
Helping students to see the potential to influence things beyond their immediate circle can sow the seeds for world leadership.
Consider posing questions to encourage discussion of “bigger” issues.
- How can I protect and promote the immediate environment and surrounding area of the camp?
- What creative ways can I look at addressing problems relating to my generation?
- How can I add to my local community?
- What skills / advice can I offer to the future generation?
Molly, our Camp Concierge is ready to help you design your camp program to create our future leaders. Coffs Coast Adventure Centre is committed to recognising every student is different and has a part to play in our world.