By Jeanne Neuwirth, LCSW, Clinician
How would you like to spend a weekend in the mountains, hiking, boating, and having s'mores by a campfire? Pathways selected Azaria Ruiz to join 50 students from high schools all over New Jersey to attend Empower Somerset's Annual Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) Youth Leadership Camping Trip, held recently at Fairview Lake YMCA Camp in Newton, NJ. The experience is funded by a WSCC Grant.
Along with traditional camping adventures, students participated in team-building games and problem-solving activities in order to learn about leadership in wide-ranging ways, such as policy change, peer leadership, bullying prevention, advocacy, and drug, alcohol and tobacco prevention.
"I learned leadership comes from a bunch of things you learn throughout your life," Azaria said. Through the team-building games she recognized some things about herself. "I learned that I am an easy person to talk to and very outgoing, friendly, and competitive."
The opportunity to connect with other teens in a meaningful way was a significant aspect of the trip. Participants abandoned their cell phones in favor of telling stories, sharing meals, nature hikes, and rock climbing. "My favorite thing about going was making new friends, and ones that I can meet outside of camp," Azaria shared.
Although Azaria may have initially felt a little apprehensive about not knowing any students there, she soon found herself at ease. "There were people there from previous years that would help us with anything."
It appears that she will be among those students helping newbies acclimate next year—Pathways is proud to announce that Azaria was invited to participate as a Junior Leader next year!
Pathways would like to thank Azaria's mother, Lory Flores, for serving as a Chaperone for the Leadership Camping Trip.
#Pathways@Pathwayssbys @EmPoWERSomerset #Leadership
Photo by Art of Hoping on Unsplash