Student Leadership Camp provides opportunities for students to enrich what they're doing at their schools

(Justin Saylor/

More than 400 student leaders and advisers gathered at CSU-Fort Collins for the 55th Annual CHSAA Student Leadership Summer Camp last week.

The camp is four days of leadership training and development that helps student leaders return to their individual campuses prepared to plan activities, work with other groups to promote campus events, and to work with their building staff as they continue to build a positive school climate.

Students arrive at camp by school, but are immediately put into council groups, a random selection of 20-25 student leaders. The councils learn and grow together, sharing best-practices learned from their own school experiences. This provides for a level of learning that give students an up-close look at a variety of school activities and leadership programming offered across Colorado.

This camp also allows for the 70+ schools that were represented to share in what makes their schools so amazing.

Over the four days students are at camp they participate in activities that enrich their learning, but there are also plenty of fun activities for them to participate in, including a large group activity (think “Minute to Win it”-style games), hearing a message from a nationally-known motivational speaker, a dance, and the end-of camp Achievement Night and Candle Lighting Ceremony.

Achievement Night is a great opportunity for Councils to share a culminating camp message.

This year, Councils were asked to create a PSA that brings awareness, shares a message, or shines a light on something all leaders need to know. The responses, by Council, ranged from how to be a friend, to sharing mental health resources, to putting your phone away in order to connect with people outside of social media.

On this night we also recognize the Colorado Student Leadership “Adviser of the Year” with the Warren E. Shull Award and our NatStuCo ( “Council of Excellence” Award recipients.

While the camp is mostly about students, there is also a learning track for advisers.

CSU offers graduate level credits for those advisers who complete the camp course requirements. Alice Stoneback, Student Council adviser from Manitou Springs High School is the facilitator for the Adult Council (known as Council X) and does an amazing job of sharing resources, teaching adviser basics, and engaging the group in conversations that allow them to share “best practices.”

To say that our adults are getting just as much from this camp as our student leaders would be an understatement. This camp is about filling the leadership buckets of all who attend.

As we head into the school year, look forward to more information about Student Leadership events, including the Student Leadership Fall Conference, Adviser University, and next summer’s student leadership event.