Leaders-In Training (LIT) is a new program that celebrated its first cohort in Summer 2019. LIT is a leadership program at Camp Alleghany for Girls for 16-year-olds and/or rising 11th graders .
The LIT program is designed to bridge the transition from camper to counselor at Camp Alleghany as well as to empower young women to practice life skills, jobs, and leadership in the nurturing camp environment.
During the LIT summer, the Leaders-in-Training practice performing counselor duties like supervising younger campers or leading and teaching a new camp activity. They give back to camp and the local community through service projects that they help design. And they experience multiple opportunities to step out of their comfort zone and become more resilient, confident young women through activities like group wilderness hikes, learning to change the oil in a car, or public speaking (among other things).
Throughout the summer, LITs are given several chances to work together as a team, advocate for themselves and others, and step up into leadership roles.
LITs can be returning campers or entirely new to ‘Ghany. While LITs are still participants in the camp setting and are supervised by their adult staff, the purpose of the program is to build a bridge between campers and counselors (or other work settings) and empower them as young leaders in and out of camp.
The LIT Program fosters growth in leadership and life skills as girls continue developing the independence and confidence to take on the challenges of their world, both now and in the future. And LITs experience the Camp Alleghany for Girls mission and belief through leadership activities involving:
- Public speaking opportunities
- Event, activity, and service project planning and organization
- Confidence-building through age-appropriate “you can do it” challenges
- Thoughtful service projects in and out of camp
- Group reflection sessions touching on natural curiosity and empathy
- Deep encounters in nature
- Personal goal setting and program support for those goals
- Opportunities for structured independence
If you’re thinking about sending your camper to Camp Alleghany Girls for a Leaders-In-Training summer (for rising 11th grade girls) well then congratulations — you’re making a wise choice!
It’s a summer of fun, exploration, learning, skill building, and self-discovery that acts as a crucial bridge between childhood and the demands of young adulthood on the horizon just up ahead.
Your LIT has reached the age of driving, part-time jobs, college applications/essays/interviews, and the heavier burden of increased peer pressure around sex, alcohol, drugs, and “fitting in.”
Helping her navigate all this is something no family should have to do alone. And it something schools aren’t able to solely focus on given the heavy demands of academics today, especially as college and SATs loom ahead.
What your LIT needs is a safe place that offers a healthy balance of introspection and external challenges, of good old fashioned fun and new skills and tasks she never imagined she’d be doing. She also needs a place where she can go beyond herself, beyond social pressures, and beyond the normal to new levels of personal achievement — basically leadership at a pace she can absorb.
Our LIT Program offers all this and more. If she’s already been a camper at ‘Ghany, she’ll be in a familiar place that allows her to continue many traditions she’s known and loved — campfires, life on Tent Row, treasured summer friendships, favorite songs and chants, and activities that she’s been exploring and mastering like canoeing, riflery, tennis, and more.
If she’s a first-timer at ‘Ghany during her LIT summer then she can expect to be met with the characteristic warmth of the Camp Alleghany culture: no mean girls, no gossip, everyone included, and a place that campers for generations — since 1922 — have proudly called a second home.
We’ve written several blogs about the LIT Program (or mentioned the program in other blogs), all of which can be found here.
The LIT Program has three essential components:
- Camp Life
- Skill Building
In camp life, your LIT will have six weeks to bask in the joy of the beloved ‘Ghany camp world. That is to say she can take two daily activity sessions of her own choosing (excluding performance ones due to LITs missing rehearsal time for other LIT tasks), enjoy campfires and Evening Activities (and even help craft some), enjoy some free time on Tent Row, hang with the whole camp during meal times in the Dining Hall, feel the love of the Greenbrier River during Free Swim, and interact with younger campers and older Junior Counselors and Counselors in a variety of situations.
She’ll be here for six weeks so she’ll also get that critical digital detox so highly recommended by doctors and educators today, including a much needed break from the world of social media.
She’ll instead benefit in body, mind, and spirit from fresh mountain air, natural rhythms of sun up and sun down, a healthy dose of sunshine and playing in the Greenbrier River. She’ll see a ceiling of stars, feel the gentle breeze, hear the crickets chirp, and warm up by a vigorous campfire.
Moving her body about every day she’ll get exercise and exercise her lungs by singing happy songs and maybe doing a bit of yoga. She’ll get away from it all while focusing on herself on one hand, and focusing on others on the other hand, bringing about a good balance in the maturing process.
She’s inching ever closer to adulthood, and this will help her be grounded enough to soar!
During an LIT summer your budding leader will have opportunities to explore service at a deeper level, and not just to get class credit to use back at home, even though that’s a nice — and efficient — perk.
She’ll learn more deeply that not everyone in our society has the same privilege or opportunities and so to give of oneself is a pillar of a meaningful life.
Both in camp and in the larger Lewisburg/Greenbrier County, area she’ll have opportunities to “give back.” In part, she’ll help craft how that will happen through learning about various needs, drawing own her own passions and interests, and tackling the very real art and skill of project management.
She might help make bat houses for camp, run a food drive for a local agency, or do cleanup along the Greenbrier River Trail.
Our 2019 LIT cohort gave back to the community through a day of cleaning and organizing at a local school in preparation to welcome a new group of elementary students in the Fall. They also did some clean up for the Butler Cave Conservation Society after a day of exploring in Butler Cave. Additionally, they gave back to the Camp Alleghany community through the planting of trees along the road to our on-site Archery Range as well as an oak tree across from the LIT Lodge.
The specifics will change from summer-to-summer but one thing will remain constant: learning to serve others as an act of selfless and joy will be central to her experience.
When you’re on the threshold of leaving childhood to embrace young adulthood the assorted demands can seem daunting. There’s driving, car management, time management, college applications and essays, personal and self care, diet and nutrition, working part time, friendships and relationships, volunteering, trying career choices out and much, much more.
Who can keep up?
Well if anyone can a ‘Ghany Girl can.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a learning curve, or that it all comes naturally.
Between her daily LIT class for self reflection, communication development (i.e. interview skills and public speaking), group projects, and very specific skill-building in some kind of certification (like lifeguarding, CPR or First Aid), or learning how to work with tools to make those benches or bat houses or to perform basic car care, she’ll come away from her LIT summer as a young woman equipped to take on the world.
And all of this leads to something invaluable — confidence. An LIT will experience an LIT summer as a rite of passage, something too often neglected in a large and often anonymous society.
This bridge summer will be so fun for her but at the same time it will provide that seamless support that’s felt when someone specifically holds your hand as you try to master a new and much more complex balancing act.
She will love it. You will love it. And we’ll love having her here!