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8-18 Media: Looking back on adventures in Washington, D.C.: Part two

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part two of a three-part series. Part one ran on page 16A in the Oct. 10-11weekend edition of The Mining Journal, while part three will run in the Oct. 24-25 edition.

The next day was the start of my leadership camp. It wasn’t a full day though, and it started at 4:00 p.m. and went until 8:00 p.m. We woke up, then went to the executive lounge for some breakfast. Then, we went to the National Zoo. We walked through it, and when it was lunch time we stopped at the little food area. I got some Sbarro pizza with my dad, and my brother and mom got some crepes. Afterwards we got some Dippin Dots. I got the kind with cookie dough pieces and my dad got the “Panda” flavor which had Oreo pieces in it.

After we got back from the zoo there was about an hour until my camp started. I got on my uniform, and then sat in the hotel bed and watched HGTV until it was time to go.

When it was time to go we went to the lobby of the hotel and took a shuttle to the hotel where the camp took place. One reason I had been looking forward to the camp was because it wasn’t your average summer camp. The entire camp was based off of learning about leadership, and we would go to memorials in D.C. and learn about famous leaders, and do simulations.

Once we arrived at the camp I had to go sign in so they knew I was there. I was placed in the “Jackson” Leadership Focus Group, and was given a name badge with my name and LFG. (Leadership Focus Group). The camp took place in a hotel in Maryland. We did most of our activities in different rooms in the hotel. After I signed in, all the campers went into one of the rooms to do ice breakers. This was mostly just playing games. I sat down and watched everyone because I was too nervous to join in. After a while one of the leaders came in and taught us a song about the camp. It was very energetic and repeats over and over again. By the end of camp, I bet I could sing that song backwards in my sleep.

The first few hours we didn’t do much, but when I came in the door to join the games a girl who I had never met before and lived states away from me introduced herself and said “Hi!” so that was nice because I had someone to talk to. We talked for a while, then we split into our Leadership Focus Groups.

The LFG’s were kind of like homerooms in school. We did most of the activities with the people in our LFG’s. I was in Jackson but there were also a lot of other groups named after presidents. There was Obama, Washington, Regan, Madison, and more. After ice breakers we met with our LFG’s in their rooms and went to dinner.

When we were done with dinner all of the LFG’s split up and went to their different rooms. Everyone introduced themselves and we started by talking about the results of a quiz we took before the camp. We learned about what the scores meant and how we could improve and be better leaders. That took up most of the first day. I went back to the hotel and immediately went to bed.

On the second day we learned about a project we would be working on, called Voices of Change. We had to create a poster about a topic or issue that was important to us. Then we had to brainstorm ideas on how to solve that problem. We chose our top three topics we wanted to do then were divided into groups. No one else wanted to do the three I chose so I ended up being in a group with the topic “Stress Relief,” which was still really fun.

We came up with a fake website that sold different stress relieving toys, and did research on the history of stress relief.

Most of the day we did LFG stuff, including working on our voices of change projects, doing a running for president simulation, a music themed simulation (that was one of my favorite parts of the camp), and some other lessons.

Tuesday, we went to Harpers Ferry, which was really fun. We toured some exhibits and learned about John Brown. After that we had lunch, then came my favorite part of the day; there were three different activities we could choose from to do for the rest of the day. The activity I chose had different stations in it. We could go around and work at the different stations and participate in the different activities there. We also got to go to the gift shop. I got some magnets for my family as well as some postcards.

The next day (Wednesday) was probably my favorite day of the entire camp. We took a bus to Washington D.C. and toured Capitol Hill. There was an entire room full of statues which were really fun to look at. We also got to see a lot of cool paintings hanging in the different rooms.

Then we went to the National Museum of American History and went to the Lincoln, Vietnam, and Korean War memorials. I had already seen them when I went to Washington D.C. the year prior, but I loved seeing them again. When we got back to Maryland we did another simulation. For this one we were each given roles in the White House (for example, president, vice president, etc.) and we had a problem to solve and each got different information and had to work together to figure out a solution. It was really tricky, but fun.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Esme Ulland-Joy is 12. She is in the 7th grade this year.

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