Ohio Leadership Camp
By Nikyta Engstrom, 2015-2016 Reporter
On June 19th, 2015 the Hiland FFA Chapter had five members, Aaron Nisley, Kelsey Yoder, Diane Yoder, Claire Farquhar, Nikyta Engstrom and, their agriculture instructor, Miss Albright go to Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum. The camp that was in session was Ohio Leadership Camp or OLC for short. This camp is open to both FFA and Farm Bureau members. At OLC there were members from all over Ohio. Everyone was split into Camp Chapters, or groups, so that they had to make new friends. There was a camp picture taken and then the sponsors, which were the National Farm Bureau and Nationwide Insurance, had a word with the attendees. Then, a rules video created by the Ohio FFA State Officers was shown. The different FFA and Farm Bureau Chapters got to take pictures with the sponsors and the Ohio FFA State president. For the first two days, Friday and Saturday, it rained while they were there. To get to know one another better, the camp chapters played games in the rain. Games can make hunger strike fast, but OLC was prepared for the appetite of each member. The camp cooks are called Kitchen Mamas and they cooked each meal for those four days. The meals they they provided were absolutely scrumptious.
Also, there were two National FFA staff members there to present what was known as the 360 leadership sessions. Over the four days there were six sessions. Theses lessons were presented as in this order: Vision, Seeing the Need, Creating the Path, Leading the Way, Staying on Track, and Tracking our Progress. Their purpose was to teach the members leadership skills.
Bits of free time were permitted over the weekend where one could swim if they passed their swim test which could also be taken during the free period. Attendees could also go motorboating, kayaking as well as canoeing, shooting guns at the gun range, and try out the climbing wall. They could also play sports like frisbee, basketball, volleyball, tennis, tetherball, ping pong or just hang out with friends. Others spent the time at the camp store where the members could buy FFA Camp Muskingum merchandise.
Each night after dinner was a flag lowering ceremony and each morning after breakfast there was a flag raising ceremony and that was special for the members, and a very good learning experience for them to understand things that happen around them that they might not know. An example being September 11,2001 and the troops that lost their lives during wars. A special flag ceremony took place on Sunday night, there was flag lowering as usual and then we went down by the lakefront to put all sizes of American flags on a rack over a firepit for a flag retirement ceremony. Once all the flags were draped over the rack, a member put kerosene on them and they were lit on fire. While they were burning a retired military member played a song on the trumpet to send them up and they members put their right hands on their hearts.
Another activity that takes place at this camp is Living History, Living History is where the members pretend to be slaves and the staff are the slave owners or slave hunters and other characters like that. The members have to get from the South to the North without getting caught with help of their guide given they don't give them away. This year was the first year they "sold" the "slaves" and it was difficult for some of the members to keep a straight face. This activity really captures the life and hardships of slavehood.
On Sunday many activities took place such as beach games where the members play at the waterfront and at a field with water games. There was an OLC banquet as well, the banquet was held like meeting, but with Senator Cliff Hite as a speaker along with a special meal and a special recognition of the Farm Bureau Interns and Ag. Teachers. After the banquet there was a talent show with many acts and finally a dance where all the kids showed off their moves.
Each day the kids had a camp chapter meeting where they cleaned up camp, and there was a polar bear swim and a sunrise walk. Monday the members had breakfast, did camp clean up, had a flag raising ceremony, and had the final session. Also during the last day, the members wrote letters to their sponsors and did an OLC survey. All the kids had a memorable time and got to know at least one new friend.