By Marilynn Wong

The WayUp Sacramento Youth Leadership Program created a 3-day/2 overnight camp for the 500 incoming 9th graders in the Sacramento City Unified School District from July 31st to August 2nd at Sacramento State University. This awesome camp was to teach youth about leadership skills that will help them in the future. Also, the camp taught the youth to be comfortable with the transition from middle to high school.

The incoming freshmen were led by adult leaders (pod leaders), youth leaders (student ambassadors), and youth development staff. The youth worked together, made group agreements, solved complicated problems, shared responsibilities, and set goals. They also participated in small activities and held discussions that build relationships with the adult and student leaders.

As this event took place, I had volunteered by being a student leader. I was in charge of the incoming freshmen for John F. Kennedy High School. I was responsible for leading and assisting them with activities such as ice breakers and creating team mottos. I also had to help them prepare for high school life by telling them my experiences at John F. Kennedy High School. Since I was a sophomore, I had to respect others and set a good example for them. I had fun and I liked this camp because there were many fun activities and I got to work with under classmen.

An activity session I enjoyed from the camp was the ropes course at Peak Adventures. My group and I all had to work together to complete a task. For example, there was a crate stacking activity where one person had to stand on top of a lot of crates to receive high number of points. I was the one that stood on top of the crates an all the pods helped me by supporting me up and handing me crates. This task required team work and cooperation.

This camp had taught many incoming freshmen to work together, make a difference in the community, influence others, be a positive impact, and be a leader. Youths had also created goals and a blueprint for reaching their goals. They had learned about strategies to influence their community and heard stories of young people that had impacted their community. This camp provided the opportunity of how college dorm life would be like. Under the theme Evolution to Revolution: Leadership is Not an Option, youths had to use their social skills to uncover solutions.