The Red Cross recognizes that tomorrow’s leaders are today’s teenagers. That’s why it created its Leadership Development Camp—a camp for young people, organized and run by young people, all in an effort to empower them and teach them the subtle and not-so-subtle traits of becoming a leader.
And it makes a huge difference in their lives and the lives of those around them.
It works like this: More than 100 teenagers from around the region spend four days and three nights on a college campus, eating in the cafeteria, playing on the green space, sleeping in the dorms, all away from their parents and annoying siblings. (Or is that siblings and annoying parents? Whatever.) They participate in workshops and sessions on various “teen-related” topics, like public speaking (OMG NO!), volunteerism (OK, that’s cool) and ethics (I don’t know, what would you do?). There are also games, guest speakers and activities, all of which are structured to help young people recognize their leadership potential and encourage them to act upon it.
All of the activities are organized and run by a team of teen counselors who have already experienced LDC as campers and want to give back to the next camper group—with the support from college counselors and adult advisors, of course.
Campers also find that—through shared experiences—they make new friends from many different walks of life, often forming bonds of friendship that extend beyond the four days of camp. LDC participants spend a minimum of 6–12 hours volunteering for the Red Cross in the year following their LDC experience.
Campers are between the age of 13-17 (and entering grades 8-11) and come from a diverse array of schools in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area.