One of my favorite weeks of the year is the week when I travel to Wayne, Nebraska, to volunteer for the Nebraska Association of Student Councils Summer Leadership Workshop. I attended every summer between 2001-2004 while I was in high school, and this year was my 7th year attending as a staff member.
As staff members, we take off two days early to get things set up. This year, it was HOT outside!
I made the trip with Kelli, who was also going to be leading a co-op in JAM with me. We do not pack lightly.
Upon our arrival, our staff gets to work making decorations and "lab grouping" or, practicing, the activities we will be leading.
JAM (Jr. High And Middle School) was housed in the Brandenburg building, so our staff spent time decorating there.
Our delegates stay in Bowen Hall, a dorm, so we also decorate the common areas there, as well.
Soon enough, Tuesday came, and we got right to work leading our delegates through activities, all which teach leadership skills. They have to get really comfortable really fast...
A staple of Workshop is the hands-free ice cream eating contest.
On the second night, we have Olympics of sorts. In order to prepare, we give our JAMers some face paint. Here, the boys model theirs:
There are a wide range of Olympic activities, which involve some physical and some mental challenges:
One of my favorites was "Face the Cookie" taken from Minute to Win It. Here, the delegates start with an Oreo on their forehead and have to use their facial muscles to get the cookie to inch down and land in their mouths:
One of my favorite activities of the week was on Day 3, and it involved a simulation of how people of different socioeconomic statuses experience life on a day-to-day basis. Our delegates learned a lot from this, and I was beyond impressed with the discussion that followed.
Other favorite activities of the week included a scavenger hunt:
And morning singing and icebreakers with the big kids:
On night four, we have a banquet:
|Me with David, one of my delegates from last year, and Brandi, one of our staff members.|
Didn't our co-op clean up nicely?
Our JAMers love getting dressed up and eating a "fancy" meal:
One of my favorite moments is watching the Lux Award presentation, which is the highest award NASC can bestow upon one of its own staff members. This year, it went to Brandi!
Selfishly, I took some time to get some photos of my friends all dressed up:
After the banquet, we have an outdoor dance, which is definitely a highlight of the week. These kids have moves!
This water break was much needed:
The last song of the night is always "Lean On Me," and everyone makes a big circle. I took pictures to avoid touching all the sweaty kids!
Day five goes quickly, but the JAMers love starting it off with the morning jam (a dance party) that the older kids get every day.
And, before we know it, it is time to say goodbye to new friends.
Another successful year is in the books, and soon enough, it will be time to start planning for next summer's Workshop!