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Leadership camp pays off for Waynesboro High seniors

September 21, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Forty students who attended a youth leadership camp in June even used their downtime to contribute to the learning experience.

"The first day we didn't know there was a TV downstairs, so we created games," Waynesboro Area Senior High School senior Janeen Tornow said.

Before long, the youths had organized volleyball tournaments, kickball games, group swims and a birthday party for one of the leaders.

Sponsored by the Waynesboro Rotary Club, Tornow and Jarrad "J.T." Spangler spent four days at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., to learn leadership and communication skills through the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. Students from across the state are then encouraged to take those skills back to their schools.

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"I'm involved in a bunch of clubs, so they knew I could take that back," Tornow said. "Jarrad's involved in sports."

The two were so impressed by the program that they offered to return as counselors, she said.

"It was great not only helping me be a leader for our school, but helping me realize I don't always have to be the leader," Spangler said.

Both especially enjoyed team-building activities at Shaver's Creek, which is a Penn State University environmental center. There, specialists guided the students through exercises like navigating small groups over a series of stumps.

"We discussed trying out different strategies," Spangler said.

"They taught us a way to take charge of a situation but not be bossy," Tornow said.

In addition to the activities at Shaver's Creek, the students were asked to identify clues in the "Seven Ways to Sell Snow in Siberia" program, organize the end-of-week banquet and fulfill community projects.

"We'd go from 7:30 to lights out at 11," Tornow said.

Programs started within an hour of check-in at the school, she said.

The pair said they already have put the skills into practice in their senior year of high school.

Tornow has used the techniques while serving on the communications committee for the homecoming. She has been delegating responsibilities and encouraging input from the underclassmen.

"I've applied it to the freshmen and shown them how it's done," she said.

The two were surprised to realize how much they have in common with the other youths at the camp, Tornow said.

"We still have friendships. ... We all exchanged numbers. We all keep in touch," she said.

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