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I had no idea what to expect. The name "Leadership Camp" stuck out like a sore thumb and I was intrigued by something that attempted to deal with an aspect of my personality that people had always told me I possessed. Rob Geis, a close friend of the family, and one of the organizers of the camp, suggested that I join, and I'm very glad I did. I'm afraid that giving an adequate explanation of what Leadership Camp offers is virtually impossible because I believe that every one of the 26 students in my group took something different away from it.
I really was, and am, tired of the typical "leader" characterization: executives, dictators, presidents of this-that-and-the-other, bosses, etc. I wanted to see if this group thought outside of the box in that way. I also wanted to calm my tendencies to "take over" things. My goals were to learn to communicate more democratically, to concentrate on being an effective leader without alienating anyone, to seem more like a friend than a dictator, and also to relax my edginess when I am faced with lots of responsibility.
I am still a bit ambivalent on how to feel about Leadership Camp. Basically, every day we concentrated on a specific area of leadership and had a speaker come in to lecture. Each speaker brought his or her own style and it was quite interesting to see the more human, fun, enthusiastic sides of these teachers - aspects to which students in their classes may not be accustomed.
For my Cummunity Leadership Project, I tossed around many ideas. I finally settled on something that grabbed my heart. I read about a Primate Rescue Center (PRC) in a nearby county. Immediately I phoned them and began volunteering, once a week for 3 hours each time. I was introduced to 11 chimpanzees (Cory, Ike, Pasna, Tina, Jenny, Rodney, Donald, Hazel, Victoria, and Zulu) and close to 40 monkeys including macaques, colobus, siamang gibbons, a baboon, and others. Becky Wagner and Rachel Weiss, the caretakes and workers there, told me that the Good Foods Co-op used to donate produce last year, but then somehow there was a breakdown in communication, and that had since ceased.
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