By Taylor Thomas
I don't have too much time to write this but I thought it would be cool to have two totally different viewpoints on the Leadership Camp. To make sure this happens, I have not read Megan's review yet. So here I go.
Megan and I had a little final "cram session" (for lack of a better term) for 2.5ish hours before the camp started. Amazingly, we got the most important things done. During this time we finished the Magellan mission rewrites. Yes, I know you shouldn't be finishing rewrites the day of the camp but that is how it turned out. The basic idea of each mission was finished months before that though so I wasn't too worried. Actually, I take that back. I was worried. So Megan and I finished up what we could and went to set up sign ins. We finished setting those up around 4:35 (a tiny bit late) and let the campers in. Luckily for us the last spot on the camp was taken just as the camp began (which caused some confusion), bringing us to 35. We started off with a brief schedule overview of the camp and then started assigning sleeping areas. All of the boys were put into Odyssey and Voyager and the girls were down in their normal area. While we took them in groups, Jon played a really fun get to know you game where the kids had to pass their names, along with 3 answers to questions, to someone else. It ended up being lots of fun. Once everyone was situated, the campers got themselves into groups for the class sessions. The class sessions were taught by Stacy (who did communication skills or something like that), Emily (who did something...I can't exactly remember. We told them to get something together and trusted they would do it.), and Megan (who had a little help from me, but she was the main teacher. Oh, and she did a class on Leadership and Military Bearing). The class sessions went really well and the kids liked them. Plus, we had our good old traditional dinner of Chinese food graciously put together by Aleta. After all of the class sessions, we gathered the kids in the gym for the overview briefing of what they would be doing for the rest of the camp. The speech that followed was incredible and was done essentially by the seat of our pants (we had gone over what we wanted to talk about but nothing terribly specific). I really, really wish we had a recording of it because it turned out amazing. Megan started off with her sheepdog, sheep, and wolves analogy (much to large to discuss here, but really cool) and gave the campers a sense of how serious we were. I have never heard so much silence before. Then I finished off by talking to them about how they were in charge of thousands and thousands of lives. I have never seen campers get so into it before. Right after we finished we sent the campers to bed and told them we would get them up at 7:15.
We woke the campers at 6:45 with revelle (that is not spelled right but oh well) and told them to get ready fast. They took a little while but eventually got to the gym and we sent them to breakfast. Breakfast was great and had tons of different foods to choose from. After breakfast we divided them into ships, gave them their briefings all together (so that they would know what everyone else was doing), and then sent them to their ships. Mr. Williamson was worried about the missions and Megan and I were worried as well. We had not extensively tested these but we went forward with confidence. The first rotation lasted 5 hours and went pretty well. The campers achieved most of their objectives but that was the last of the happy news. During lunch the crews debriefed each other and got a sense of what was going on. The second rotation fast forwarded 6 months to the part of the war when we were failing. In fact this part of the campaign was termed "The Epic Failure" for a good reason. Lots of bad things were supposed to happen and the decisions the crew made only made it worse. To complicate matters for the crew, a spy among the campers was able to get a message to the Dominion telling them exactly where the new, shiny battleship the Prometheus was at. Because of this almost the entire battle group was destroyed along with the Prometheus. There was much more than that but I do not have time to go over it all. With dinner came the crews debriefing each other and a little chat from Megan and I. They were taking their losses really lightheartedly so we told them how many people they just killed and to put themselves in the families (of the ones who had died) shoes. The cafeteria had never been so silent during a meal before. Swimming time came afterwards. During most camps the staff either goes swimming or goes home. Not the case with this. 4 of our staff members had to go to help Mr. Williamson with the campers. The rest of us stayed behind to set up the ASA (after swimming activities). When we proposed this idea, Mr. Williamson asked why. We told him that we needed it and he gave us that doubting look like "ok, if you say so." Turns out that we did. All of us who stayed behind worked for 2 straight hours to have the ENTIRE school ready when the campers got back at 10. When the campers arrived, they were told to obtain information from inside the Voyager which was protected by key cards that they had to obtain. They were given 2 hours to complete these objectives and be back to the front of the school. Unfortunately, 2 hours and 8ish minutes later they showed up with the information and ended up failing. Right after we debriefed that, we sent the campers to bed--dead tired. We told them that we would wake them up around 7.
Revelle was played at 6:00 and the campers got ready, had breakfast, and prepared for their inspection (to make sure everything with their cots was exact). The inspection took 30 minutes and we got on our way to third rotation. Third rotation was 13 months (I think) later and was the Federation counterattack. Unfortunately for the campers, they did not do so well this rotation. Voyager completed their objective but was then captured (which was not expected). Magellan was able to take back their station, but just barely. Galileo and Odyssey did a pretty good job. Phoenix made a big mistake and called in the 3rd fleet way too early. As a result most of the 3rd fleet was destroyed. At this point thigs started looking bleak. Fourth rotation was supposed to be the final battle for Cardassia Prime. Problems occured when no other ships were acting on intelligence from the Galileo. Additionally, the Magellan didn't get into the Cardassia solar system until far too late and they were unable to stop a Dominion superweapon from exiting the system and heading to Earth. So when time ran out the Starfleet forces were losing pretty badly and they failed the campaign. That in no way means that they did not have fun or did not do good things, it just means that they failed. That is one big difference about this camp was that we weren't afraid to fail them. It happens. Anyway, I thought it was a very successful camp and the kids (and at least me, if not the rest of the staff) learned a lot.
Hope this was somewhat enlightening for you and maybe even a bit entertaining.