WILMINGTON — Student developments in teamwork, confidence and trust were given the spotlight at Monday’s Wilmington City School Board meeting.
Holly Young, a math teacher at Wilmington Middle School and Project TRUST coordinator, invited three students who participated in the recent three-day camping retreat to recognize the team-building and skills learned.
Between 50 and 60 middle school students with a few high school students as counselors go out to either March or December camp where they learn to trust, respect, understand and develop student teamwork in the hopes of building a better school environment.
“We just spend three days empowering our students to have a voice, build confidence,” said Young, “then come back to the middle school and allow those students to build a climate and community within the middle school that promotes education and the classroom environment the students want and need to be successful.”
Two of the counselors, Petra Bray and Ben Baylor, spoke about what they gained from the experience.
Bray took part in Project TRUST in eighth grade and described the experience as humbling.
“You kind of go, not stuck up, but you’re just in your bubble. You only know your friends and you plan to stick with them. Then you get shoved into these groups of people you’ve never talked to and the counselors are really energetic … you really get out of your comfort zone,” said Bray.
This recent outing was her first time as a counselor and she thought the experience was even better than as a camper.
“Getting closer with the kids and seeing them break their barriers down, at the beginning you can really relate to that awkwardness and nervousness. But throughout the whole experience, they talk more and they to talk to each other more. When they come back I think they really want to share that feeling, that acceptance, and fun throughout the school, ” she said.
Serving his second time as a counselor, Ben Baylor first went in the seventh grade. He thought it was just a camp that let him get out of school for a few days. But now Baylor believes the camp really shaped him into who he is.
“It really helped me getting out of my shell and voicing my opinion,” said Baylor. “I’m more grateful to have the opportunity to serve as a counselor than as a student going there, because seeing the impact it can make on those kids in three days is truly one of the coolest things I can see.”
He added that seeing the personalities of the campers grow in a short amount of time was amazing to see. He also believes that the team-building exercises will spread to those who didn’t have the opportunity to go.
Robbie Allen, an eighth-grader who went, shared that he saw first-hand students who usually aren’t as talkative or keep to themselves help take part in activities and build bonds.
“Others aren’t able to go and I have friends who like, ‘Dude, it must have been like an amazing experience. I really wish I could’ve gone,’” said Allen.
Young told the school board it warms her heart to hear the positive impact the camp has had on the students.
“Our goal is to bring those empowering minds and ideas back to the middle school,” said Young.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574