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What I did for my summer vacation: Leadership camp

August 08, 2006|by ROBERT KELLER

Some people are natural leaders in their group of friends. Other people have to work to become a leader, and that's what I did earlier this summer.

I went to Junior Leadership Training Camp, part of Royal Rangers, a Christian ministry that reaches, teaches and keeps boys for Christ. There are different programs during JLTC. I attended Junior Training Camp.

I arrived early at JTC at a camp near Honey Grove, Pa., on Sunday, June 18, before camp actually started. There were only two other kids from the outpost at my church, Alex and Zach. Most of the other kids were from a different district, the Pen-Del district. My friends and I set up a tent and went swimming in the creek for a while. When it was dark, we played hide-and-seek without flashlights.

Monday was the first day of camp. Many other boys arrived. There were about 100 boys altogether. Once everyone had registered, we were assigned to our patrol, which is a small group of boys working together. My friends and I were split up since there were three patrols. There was only one other person from my district, the Potomac District, in my patrol. Our patrol learned a little bit about the camp and how to cook in a Dutch oven over a fire.

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The main activities of the camp involved learning more about the teachings of Jesus Christ and about survival in the wilderness. Patrols were expected to demonstrate what they learned. During the three-day camp, patrols were assessed several times a day by adult leaders. We had to show what we had learned in several areas, such as fire making, cooking and patrol spirit.

When we hit certain levels of accomplishment, we earned awards. The goal of the JTC was to achieve the gold excellence award. How your patrol worked together and how the campsite was determined what level of excellence you earned.

The next day, Tuesday, our patrol had almost achieved the first level of achievement, the bronze excellence award. We had to make sure the camp was set up correctly, build patrol spirit, and acquire no more than five safety infractions.

Our kielbasa lunch was lacking. Some of our potatoes and vegetables were not fully cooked.

By mid-day, we had earned the bronze and were working toward the silver. Our cooking was getting a lot better that day, too. We made a barbecue pork dinner and the food was cooked fully this time.

Wednesday morning, our patrol knew we were close to achieving the silver award and were running out of time for gold. We had only one day to achieve both the silver and gold excellence awards.

By lunch time, we earned the silver medal. We had to have no more than three safety infractions, show more patrol spirit, and improve the campsite. We were better at lunch and dinner. Instead of being late to retrieve our guest, we were 15 minutes early.

Dinner was a great moment for our patrol, because we had to make chicken cordon bleu. It tasted great.

We achieved gold excellence - for earning no more than one safety infraction, demonstrating excellent patrol spirit and having a clean, organized campsite - at the evening assembly. We were the first patrol to achieve this award.

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