By Chelsea Rankin
Patrick Henry College
Teen Camps 2012. Photo courtesy of Michelle Stevens.
PHC’s 2013 Teen Leadership Camps kick off in less than a week. New Teen Camp Director Stephen Williams, a PHC graduate, has spent the past few months giving the camps a facelift and is excited to debut his redesigns. The camps are currently in the midst of a registration spike and are quickly filling up. To reserve your spot, be sure to sign up soon! Limited room is still available for most camps.
The 2013 camp season kicks off with a Strategic Intelligence camp taught by alumnus Evan Johnson, SI graduate and recipient of the 2013 government award. Next on the list is History Camp: “The Founding Fathers and the Classical Tradition,” instructed by PHC’s very own history professor Dr. Douglas Favelo. Mock Trial Camp is coached by PHC’s Mock Trial Coach Dr. Frank Guliuzza, whose mock trial team qualified for the national tournament this year. Presidency Camp is taught by PHC’s government professor Dr. Michael Haynes, and Leadership and Vocation Camp is taught by PHC Provost Dr. Gene Edward Veith.
Williams believes that the changes to Strategic Intelligence camp will make it the best it’s ever been. He is also excited for campers to attend Presidency camp and participate in an executive branch simulation. Leadership and Vocation Camp features speakers from inside and outside the college and focuses on living well inside one’s community.
Both speech and debate camp are headed by alumnus Isaiah McPeak (Government, '08) and Ethos Publications, LLC. PHC Professor of Rhetoric and debate coach Dr. James Tallmon will also offer his expertise, along with experts on this year's resolutions and the top debate coaches from around the country.
PHC's speech and debate program offers "the most comprehensive debate camp available," McPeak said. "Considering that the average debate club meets once a week for around two hours, the PHC debate camp is the equivalent of more than a year of coaching in one summer experience. Debaters should expect to go at least an entire level up, whether that's from novice to intermediate, intermediate to advanced, or advanced to rock star."
Outside the classroom, campers can participate in a host of fun activities, designed to make their week at camp the best week of summer. Days are crammed full of skits, games, and even water fights. New this year is games that integrate social media in order to use Instagram for photo contests. The staff also has a few fun surprises planned for campers.
“We’ve spent this year re-analyzing the different elements of camps and looking for ways to improve them,” Laura Fennig, female head counselor, said. “We are trying to better utilize our time and keep things as fun as possible while still maintaining the educational aspect.”
Twelve current PHC students (and a few recent alumni) are staffing the camps, along with Fennig and Tait Deems, recent graduates who are serving as head male and female counselors.
“The 2013 counselor team has really blown my mind,” Williams said. “They are eager to think, pray, and be excited for the opportunity to staff camps. I’ve never had the chance to work with such an incredible group of Godly, fun, and intentional people.”
Working with Deems and Fennig has eased Williams’ worries about the summer.
“The confidence they’ve instilled in me has taken a load off my mind,” Williams said. “They have shown me that I have no reason to worry and every reason to be extremely excited to work with their leadership.”
Fennig has enjoyed working with Williams over the past few months, noting that he is discipleship-oriented and in tune with the spiritual aspect of life. Fennig believes Williams will put a high emphasis on building mentoring relationships amongst counselors and campers. She is excited to see how the personalities of the staff compliment and balance each other.
“Each year we do teen camps, something new comes to the table and different people are touched in a special way,” she said. “This year is going to be an awesome team! I think that any girl would be lucky to be bffs with any of the girl counselors.”