By: Krista Jeffrey, Middlesex JF
On June 9-11,2017, 25 Junior Farmers travelled to Orillia, Ontario to attend leadership camp. This is an event, through Junior Farmers Association of Ontario (JFAO), that I look forward to every year. 2016 was the first year I attended. After my experience last year, I thought that I would also go this year and bring along one of Middlesex’s new members. Leadership camp for me is a good way to really get to know, not only other members across the province, but is my first chance that I get to know the international delegates, that just come to Canada a week or so prior to camp. One thing as an individual that I am working on, is to improve myself, is through developing my leadership skills. I feel that leadership camp is a good safe environment to do this. There were many opportunities to take on the leading roles in my group, but also to step back when I’m uncomfortable and follow the lead.
This year’s camp was themed The Amazing Race; therefore, the activities were all based around the theme. All the campers were split into four teams, Asia, America, Europe, Africa. I was team America, this included both South and North America. Our activities were scheduled through out the morning. Before lunch we had canoeing and, a team building activity called “airport”. This is where, as a team, we had to get each other from one side of the rope, aka country to the other side of the world, with out falling off the guide wire. The first two times that we did it, we could use words. The third time we weren’t allowed to use any words at all. This really brought out the trust ability. After lunch we got to learned archery, and then we got to do a skill testing stacking activity with tires. After all the activities finished we regrouped and started the AMAZING RACE! The race started out with a form of Pictionary. One team-mate got a word, and had to draw it. When we guessed correctly, what the word was, they would tell us where we needed to go to find our next clue. Every time we finished one activity, we would have to go back to the starting line, do Pictionary again, and this would help us find where each spot was. Each spot would give us a word, and at the end the words would give us a phrase. In the end the phrase said… “WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER”. This is a great phrase to describe a team. Yes, you have a leader, but if you have a leader who can’t make the team work together, your team won’t succeed. You either win together or you lose together; either way everyone is a part of a team. After this was supper, where we enjoyed a fantastic meal together, before we had a large game of scrabble. This is where you had to find a camp councillor all over the camp and do things to get letters. After receiving your letters, you had to build as many words as possible.
After scrabble we joined together in the chapel. In the chapel, we decided what words were used to describe a leader. As a team we narrowed it down to one word, but through debate we all realized that we are all leaders in our own way, and takes many different qualities in a person to be a great leader. Since the object of the game was to come up with one word and/or phrase we decided on “step up and step back”. This is where the leader knows when to step up in the leadership role, but also knows when to step back and let the team take the lead. We then ended our day with a camp fire and smores. What better way to end our day.
Sunday was the end of camp, but in the morning, we had our “what is a leader to you” seminar. In this seminar we talked about the difference leaders in our life had made and how we need show them we appreciate them for that. When we finished that, we took our turn in the ESCAPE ROOM! We were blind folded until we were in the room. When we were in the room we had to find clues, and figure out how to get the lights turned on. Thankfully with literally seconds to spare, Team America ESCAPED!!!!!!
Overall, it was a great experience for me again this year. I recommend attending in 2018. As I said before, we had a first-time member come up and after talking to her and hearing her report, she says she also recommends it to others and she would go again next year. You might just say we were all happy campers.