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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Report on the Leadership Camp.

By Megan Warner

Hey guys! It's Megan. This is a little report on the leadership camp. If you're curious about what happened in general or want to know what was going on in the ships you weren't working, this is the thing to read. If you don't care at all, I suggest not continuing. It's up to you.

Mr. Williamson told a bit about the origins of the camp, but I wanted to expound a little. This whole thing came about one day after a bunch of people came over to my house to watch Stargate. (Which is an amazing show, by the way.) We went up to our kitchen and talked for a while, with people slowly trickling out. Taylor and I were the last ones there, and he started telling me about this cool concept he had where we would have a campaign of missions to bring back repeat customers. We ended up talking for what, 2 hours?, and came up with the idea to run a camp with one of these campaigns. And hey, why not make it ridiculously hard and call it a leadership camp? Over the next couple of days, we came up with an extremely detailed proposal for Mr. Williamson and, after quite the battle, got a green light.

For the next several months, we worked our tails off to get this camp put together. Unfortunately, we weren't ready as of two weeks ago. We had a HUGE scramble to get things finished. At the start of the camp, though, we still weren't done. We opened the doors with only a vague sense of what was supposed to happen that night. At some point, Taylor and I strongly felt that we needed some... higher help... and so we went and asked for it. Then, it began.

Thursday night saw the campers rotating through classes on communication, problem solving, and leadership. We gave them all notebooks to facilitate note taking and retention, and I was personally disquieted about how little the kids used them, but it was their call.

After the classes, we brought the campers into the gym to give them their overall briefing on the campaign. Taylor and I had a vague sense of what we were going to tell them, but that was it. I don't remember exactly what I said, but I do remember the feeling it left saturated throughout the room. All our inspired and inspiring talk of sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs really gave them a sense of foreboding. I could see them all, to one extent or another, thinking 'what did we get ourselves into?' When we were finished, they were sent to bed and, from what I know, gave us very little trouble.

Friday morning, we got the kids up at 6:45 with reveille and whistles. It was fun. A quick breakfast was served, and the crews were taken back to the gym for their briefings. All five ships heard all five briefings, for the sake of knowing where everyone else was going. The point of this camp was to make them work together to complete one single, overall objective. They were supposed to beat the Dominion War. Each rotation was intermingled, at least with information and clues being found and supposedly sent to the other ships. Between each mission, the crews debriefed each other, letting the others know what happened. Then it was off again for the next part of the war.

The crews went through two five hour rotations on Friday. During training for one of them, Mr. Williamson came up to me and said we didn't have a pool for that evening. I knew we could easily fill the space, but we needed the time to get set up. Luckily, our wonderful Bossman worked his magic and came back ten minutes later to let me know he'd gotten a pool reservation at Orem and a bus to get us there. Yay! So, after dinner, the kids were off and the scramble began.

We had scheduled for Friday night what we called the ASA, or After Swimming Activity. The time they were gone saw the entire staff rushing around the school setting up, well, a Dominion base. When the campers got back, Jon told them they were now on a mission to gather some vital information about the Dominion's plans for the next stage of the war. They were given several objectives and sent off, with a warning that a ship was coming to get them at midnight and only whatever and whoever was at the pick up point- the lobby- would get back. A couple crazy hours later, the crew failed. They completed a few of their objectives and found a couple of the bonus goodies we left for them, but they didn't get back until fifteen minutes after the ship left them. None of what they'd found- weapons, plans, and schematics- would have any bearing on the outcome of the war. Too bad for them.

Reveille Saturday morning was at 6. The kids got up, slower than they should have, and shuffled into the gym. They were given half an hour to eat and get ready for the inspection they had on their bunks. We'd scheduled more time than that, but they took too long getting ready. The campers scrambled through their cereal to run back and get their barracks ready. From what I heard of the boys and saw of the girls, they did better than any of us thought they were. After they all passed, it was back to the gym and their briefings.

Rotation 3, the campers experienced some problems. They were all tired and starting to lose focus, but that had been our goal. The 'war' had been going on for a year and a half at this point, and we wanted them to feel it. Because of this, most of them didn't complete their objectives like they were supposed to. Oh yeah, we also had our Big Incident. I was in the middle of my flight, trying to get the Phoenix crew to destroy some weapons platforms (instead they got the entire Third Fleet blown up. Whoops.) when someone came in and said we had an issue. I went out to the hall and saw Jon, holding his head with quite a bit of blood coming from behind a paper towel. Yes, real blood. Not something you see too often here. We got Emily to take a look at him, and after a bit of a scare involving pupils and a dead pen light, Jon was rushed off to the Urgent Care center by Mr. Williamson and we all went back to our missions.

At the beginning of the fourth rotation, the campers were told, to put it shortly, that they were in a lot of trouble. They'd done a lot throughout the camp that was stacking against them. They'd have to be really careful if they wanted to succeed. The first half of the mission was pretty much a disaster, and before they were sent off to their lunch of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat- military meals. I think they're quite yummy if you get the right ones) it was reiterated to them that they were behind in their objectives. By a lot. This rotation was the only one split up at all. We'd done it this way because they were supposed to trade information and basically decide that all five ships were going to be needed to finish this war in a good way. Unfortunately, they were all so far behind, they weren't able to trade said data. We started up again with the staff understanding that if the Magellan didn't get into the battle by 3:30, the campers were going
to fail and the war would be lost. Guess what? It didn't happen. There were a lot of factors that added up to become an almost impenetrable wall of defeat, and they were unable to find the chink in the Dominion's armor. We took the crews out to the gym and told them they had lost the war, there was a giant super weapon on its way to destroy Earth, and they all would have died. (We blew the Phoenix up. It was AWESOME! Much cooler than it ever was in the joint Greenpeace Bracken and I flew.)

A good way to describe how the kids did for this camp is 'epic fail'. Thanks Brady for that term. They failed, but it was their fault, they knew it, and it was glorious. Woot.

I wanted to say thanks to all the staff. It was them that really made this thing come together. This may seem really obvious, but Taylor and I couldn't have done this without you. We really appreciated it, and I know the campers did too.

Well, there ya have it. If you actually made it through all this, kudos to you. That was quite the feat. I tried to keep it short, but it obviously didn't work out that way.

Thanks again to our staff, and to Mr. Williamson for having the faith in us to let us try. We're so glad we didn't let you down.

-Megan
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