When I asked Dylan, a 6th grader at Harpers Ferry Middle School in our Leaders In Action program, why he enjoys attending our weekly program, he had many reasons: whether it was trying guacamole for the first time during our Global Connection Unit or learning what kind of leadership style pertains to him, he enjoys having the opportunity to experience new things. Dylan was especially surprised by his interest in our local government curriculum, a topic not taught in the Jefferson County School System. Dylan said, “I actually found government to be interesting. Who knew?” He appreciated our hands-on activities that focused on differences between state and local government as well as the countries and continents discussed in our global connections unit.
Our next unit is Health and Gardening, and Dylan plans to get very involved in gardening at The OEC and possibly at home. He is very excited for his first overnight camp this summer at The Outdoor Education Center, where he’ll spend a week appreciating the outdoors and enjoying our adventure programs such as canoeing and zip-lining! Dylan is also looking forward to our Alternative Spring Break Trip this week to Charleston, WV, where he will be participating in multiple community service projects and visiting the West Virginia Capitol Building with thirteen other Leaders In Action students.
Dylan has dreams of becoming a professional baseball player. We talked about how Leaders In Action might help him grow closer to reaching his ultimate goal. Our main conclusion was that our program helps Dylan focus on his teamwork skills through our hands-on activities, as well as learning vital leadership techniques that may assist him to become the team captain in high school and beyond.
Our Leaders In Action program helps each middle school student in a unique way. Fortunately, we have the ability to reach a variety of students and teach them critical life skills by providing them valuable experiences through hands-on activities.
(Sarah Nowicki is an AmeriCorps Vista at FLOC’s Outdoor Education Center).