Camp for youth leaders begins in Columbia

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COLUMBIA - For the fifth straight year, middle school students are gathering in mid-Missouri to participate in the Truman Youth Leadership Academy.

The one-week summer day camp aims to teach leadership skills, civic involvement and community service in the hopes of inspiring local youth to become community leaders.  The camp takes place at a variety of locations giving participants a unique experience.

It starts on MU's Campus with events taking place at the student center as well as the Missouri State Historical Society.

Other events include a recycling center tour, where the campers will learn about sustainability, a mock city council meeting at Columbia City Hall, and a high ropes obstacle course at Venture Out. 

The week ends Friday where the campers will spend the entire day at the State Capitol.

Camp Counselor Sam Dicke said the week long event is a truly one of a kind experience. 

"I’ve heard time and time again from parents how much they love the camp because it gives their students an outlet and an opportunity to learn more about leadership in a facet that’s not really used anywhere else at least in the mid Missouri area," Dicke said.  

Dicke added the camp gives students opportunities they would not have in the classroom.

“I think one of the best parts of the Truman camp is just the opportunities that it allows middle schools students to access," he said. "They get to meet elected officials. They get to learn about some of the most important moments of our history from some of the most qualified people teaching this, and they get the opportunity to just be involved and have a hands on experience unlike something they do in the classroom.”

Camp Counselor Luke Dietterle had a similar message.

"Everybody has essentially some kind of lesson to offer, and just being able to soak up as much knowledge and wisdom as possible is just a great opportunity,” he said.

Dietterle said the week allows him to grow as well.

"It’s a learning opportunity for me as well," he said. "Getting in front of a group of strangers is always a challenging experience. I’m looking at it as another opportunity to hone my own leadership skill with a new group of bright young minds."

The camp runs Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM.