Safety Harbor has more than just adults who give their time for good causes – our teenagers are also coming out in unprecedented numbers to lend a hand and learn about leadership and responsibility. This summer, the Teens In Leadership program coordinated by Donna Mack of Rigsby Recreation Center had 60 teens register to offer their time and energy to helping Counselors and Instructors with the Safety Harbor summer programs. One dedicated young man who had participated in the program three summers during his High School years, Billy Kerstein, even made the special effort to return after his recent graduation from the University of Florida to help out the Pram Sailing Beginner and Intermediate classes the day prior to his leaving to start Naval Recruit Training. Wow!
Introductory online classes for the Teen Leaders begin in April with a month of on-line training. In May they attend an Orientation Day prior to beginning to work with the Instructors and Counselors and then continue with on-going workshops on topics such as college prep, CPR training, child safety, etc. They learn leadership skills, how to interact appropriately such as dealing with things like conflict in a mature, professional manner, keeping track of a work schedule and reporting every day on time for their shift, all while taking direction from their assigned adult Supervisor.
The Teen Leaders committing to a full time schedule this summer work an 8 hour day, 5 days each week for the entire 11 weeks of day camps. Part time Teen Leaders also commit to varying schedules in order to assist instructors in the shorter term, interest-specific classes such as Archery, Science, Basketball, Preschool Sports, Kayaking, Sailing Basics, Fishing, News Reporting, and much, much more. Whether full-time in the summer camp or part-time in the summer class programs, everyone stays busy helping to make these programs rewarding and fun for the children while learning valuable lessons.
Great reports are coming in from Instructors and Counselors about how well the Team Leadership Program Assistants are doing, their individual personal growth, and what a tremendous help they are. Besides learning a new respect for the efforts their parents put into their jobs, the teens come away with a better understanding of what the world they’ll soon be entering as adults will be like, all the while helping make summer classes and camps fun for our local youngsters and learning the concept of giving of their time and efforts. Sounds like a terrific program!
~written by Barbara Ulmer, Safety Harbor resident blogger