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Camps Leading to a Better Future

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RYLA campers

RYLA campers

Peyton Stoike, Editor in Chief

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Every summer, hundreds of kids leave for camps. When someone thinks camps, they think sports, but in reality, the camps are leadership based. When someone thinks about a leadership camp, there are multiple names that can come to mind. I have attended both the Hugh O’Brian Leadership camp, aka HOBY, and the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, aka RYLA. At each of these, I learned different things, yet they all taught the same message: “service before self”.

I attended HOBY the summer of 2015, right before my junior year. I was the only one sent from Alliance High School, knowing not a single person when I attended. This camp helped me to open my shell and show that I am a leader, I am someone that others can depend on. The skills that I learned I brought back to my school and community and used them continually.

I sent in an application for RYLA, soon after, the camp notified the local Rotary Club who then interviewed all who applied. The local Rotary Club had not sent any students to this camp for a few years now, and opted to send all three candidates: Lane Applegarth, Emily Hansen, and me, Peyton Stoike. This camp was longer than the last, and much more interactive. We had many speakers, group activities, and fun activities. As well as learning more about leadership and the skills that come with it, I also made many great friends and enjoyed all of the activities that were scheduled for us.

Although the camps seem boring and a waste of time, attending these have been some of the best experiences of my life. They taught me to serve others better, to explore the skills necessary to become a better leader, and to showcase those skills to others. The memories and friendships that I have made at these camps are ones that I still hold to this day. RYLA impacted me so tremendously that I chose to apply as a counselor this year. This experience was one of the best of my life and still is carried with me in my everyday life. The speakers taught us how to better ourselves in order to help better the community and the people in it. The group activities taught us to work well with others and how to show your leadership, as well as letting others show theirs. The other activities keep us having fun and enjoying the opportunity that we received.

If the opportunity for you to attend a leadership camp arises, I highly recommend  attending them. Aside from the fun had, the experience, as well as the things learned, are well worth it. Whether it be spending a weekend in a dorm or a week in a cabin in the woods, each is highly worth everything. As many times as I recommend these camps, as well as others, each camp is different and grants the camper a different experience and different memories.

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