SkillsUSA Leadership training ‘best by far’
Camp Verde High School automotive teacher Tracy Tudor and I accompanied four of our students, Merrick Leinhart (auto), Michael Martin (auto), Alexis Garcia (graphic design), and John Trey Graves (graphic design) to the SkillsUSA Leadership Training Camp in Williams at the Young Life Lost Canyon Camp, Nov. 20-22.
This camp is an intense leadership experience that allows our students hands-on opportunities to enhance their communication and social skills.
In a safe environment, they meet tons of new friends from around the state. Various workshops and activities force our upcoming leaders out of their comfort zones, helping them to gain fresh perspective and valuable life experience.
After attending for many years, with certainty, I can say this year was the best by far. We were particularly blessed this year as the weather turned the camp into a glorious winter wonderland.
As advisers, we were able to meet with other regional colleagues and state leaders to solve problems, develop strategies, and collaborate on future contests, etc.
Perhaps the greatest highlight of the trip was traveling with Digital Photography CTE Teacher Mal Cooper and her Sedona Red Rock photography students, as well as with Valley Academy construction teacher Travis Black and his VACTE construction students. Spending quality time with our colleagues is a luxury we are often too busy to enjoy.
In this setting, we were able to relax, share ideas, solve problems, plan, and just enjoy ourselves, our students, and our surroundings. The only negative side was the dorm-style sleeping arrangements. We all agreed we are way too old to be sleeping in bunk beds.
As for our students, we asked them regularly what they were gaining and enjoying the most. Great meals and making new friends were the top responses.
Close seconds and perhaps what we as advisers wanted to hear most was how valuable the experience was as a whole, that meeting other like-minded people and learning from others makes a difference in how they see things.
Additionally, many of our kids worked extra hard to complete requirements to earn the nationally recognized Statesman Award.
The award is presented to members who demonstrate SkillsUSA knowledge and civic awareness, along with an understanding of the SkillsUSA Framework and how to articulate their personal experience in career and technical education (CTE).
These students can now add this coveted award to their professional résumés. As if all of these results were not enough, the greatest gains were likely those we saw from our students that are often stifled by anxiety.
We saw them blossom from their shells, perform comedy skits on stage and talk (out loud) to complete strangers. Sensational.
We appreciate the opportunity and the funding to make this trip again.
Tina Scott teaches graphic design at Camp Verde High School. Scott is also the school’s yearbook advisor.