FORT COLLINS — The Annual Student Leadership Camp gives students an opportunity to grow not only themselves, but their schools as a whole.
Students like Rangeview's Josh Wall.
"We've been focusing on the things which we struggle with and how to overcome them better as a counsel," Wall said. "Trying to figure out attendance issues in our school, fight racial tendencies, etc. Figure out how we can make our schools better."
Rashaan Davis, the curriculum director asked student to do three things every day: Learn, grow and play.
"Kids understand what the expectation is — especially leaders. It has to be a balance," Davis said. "We want them to be able to learn. Those are the things we want you to take back to your school. Second, we want them to grow individually as a leader. But, then we also want to play and remind kids how to have a good time."
He asked students to simply be in the moment.
"In this moment, if you can shut down all the other things that are going on and you can hear the message, that's probably more important than anything else," Davis said. "Just be here now. If kids can get to that point, that's where real learning starts to happen."
The camp's theme is 'GRIT.'
Davis spoke on what grit means to him.
"To me, it's absolutely about follow-through. It's about understanding how to persevere," Davis said. "Sometimes, it's the littlest things that we have to persevere. It's hearing no sometimes, and I appreciate that because when kids hear no, they either fall apart or they grow. Fail forward, if you will.
"Grit says, I'm going to take a step back and assess what's going on around me, and then we're going to move forward in a positive way."
The students were grouped into counsels, then grouped by classification to work on brainstorming ideas for service projects, fundraising and events.
Kim Karr, the guest speaker for the day, touched on the #ICANHELP initiative.
According to the #ICANHELP website, they believe that "One person has the power to make a difference and delete negativity online in his or her own life. More people can effect even more change."
Karr talked about creating a positive school culture by transforming these student leaders into digital leaders that create positive change online.
"I think she's talking on their level because it's all about technology," Davis said. "That little device can mean a whole lot in a positive way and it can mean a whole lot in a very negative way. As kids leave here, they should understand that the little things they do affect them personally. But, the big picture of how they can make someone else feel, I think is important.
"That's a message that they can take back and share with other students and with their feeder schools — middle school kids need that probably more than high school kids."
CHSAA's Student Leadership program gives students opportunities to work directly with CHSAA members to address important issues.
The CHSAA state reps had a meeting with the CHSAA staff after Karr spoke.
"I think it's great being able to work with all the CHSAA members and the adults to see their mindset," Wall said. "There are all these rules that you aren't used to, but now you get to see the backside of that and understand why they have that. Nevertheless, it's great to have these adults and college people around because you get to see what you can do in leadership and how much further you can go."
Wall and the rest of the students get just that — an idea of how far you can go with a program like this. Real change can happen when students and CHSAA members work together.
"Whenever you meet great people, you get a lot of ideas," Wall said. "All the ideas which I'm getting from the people in my counsel really help me be able to have these new ideas so I'm kind of refreshed in things that I've been doing for the last three years. I come back with a new sense of grit where I've got to fight and do everything I need to in order to have a better last year."
And, when students from schools around the state get together to collaborate and discuss which ideas work best.
"I've heard of a lot of great ideas from other schools. Other ways of fundraising, I definitely feel could work where I'm going," Wall said. "A lot of the 1A, 2A or 3A schools, they don't have many people. When you have a lot of people, it's easier to get people to go to events. So, you get to hear how they get people to go to events and you can follow their methods."
Just two days into the camp, the theme is being bought into full force.
"Everybody needs grit to get better," Wall said. "I feel like the theme is really helpful because one of the biggest issues with leadership is giving up after a while or getting tired at the end of the year. It's always great to have a theme like that because it proves that everything you are doing is worth it. You always have to keep on fighting."