Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. —John F. Kennedy
Some psychologists suggest that when a child is out of sorts they may be needing to assume more responsibility. We believe that this theory is applicable to teens too and last week, this was proved to be true when we spent 3 days with this year's camp leaders.
Phelps Helps once again opened its doors for the weeklong annual Summer STEM Camp. Much work went into preparing it including training our camp leaders. Seven bright and curious teenagers pulled themselves away from the temptations of summer, such as sleeping in and making money, to take on the task of being camp leader.
In June these students came to us for interviews. Many of them were understandably nervous and even a bit flighty. Who doesn’t remember those days of being plagued by feelings of self doubt. Now we watch in awe as they come to life, and find their own unique way to assert themselves. They are clearly leaders in training.
After a couple of days of getting to know each other, trying out some of the STEM projects and grasping the ethos of our camp, they sat down to listen to the wise words of Eddie Pomykala. There are many kinds of leaders, he told them, they can be extraverts or introverts. That was just what they needed to hear before they embarked on this journey of discovering the leader within. Eddie is one of our local heroes and he is so good at making kids feel like they can make a difference.
On their last day, we whisked them off to an Escape Room in Sherbrooke. They loved it and the manager congratulated them for being the most effective group she had ever seen. After, as they slurped on their Macdonald’s beverages, they reminisced about this meaningful feedback. We could not be prouder of them. In our books, the most important quality in a leader is a good team player.
From this shining example of what happens to youth when asked to step-up, we will move onto the exciting plans of establishing a Youth Committee at Phelps Helps. For this we have Y4Y on our side. They are a Montreal based youth-led organization that will meet with aspiring young leaders of Stanstead, gauge their interests and kickstart a project that they can chomp their teeth into. Here at Phelps, we have enormous trust that the voices of our youth will find a place to merge. They will create something new for kids of Stanstead now and for the ones that will be here before we know it.