This year’s annual BellevueCollege leadership retreat, Camp Casey, took place on Whidbey Island from July 18-21. Every year camp attendees go to workshops and participate in activities to increase their leadership skills so they can better serve the school. This year’s camp was no different.
Guided by the themes of leadership and diversity, students built important skills such as teamwork, friendship and empathetic listening. Associated Student Government Marketing and Public Relations Representative Miranda Tamnkang said that the most important lessons taken away from Camp Casey were “listening … project management and [learning] how you will be working with people from different diversities and different communities … to make a better community for Bellevue College.”
Tamnkang also reflected that one of the more interesting ways of diversity being expressed was when “someone had their birthday and we sang happy birthday in about 10-15 languages! We included people of different ideas and different cultures and backgrounds and we really worked on listening to their stories.” The experiences and the lessons that came from it were not only beneficial for natives, but for international students as well. Valery Borodina, an international student from the Ukraine and the International Student Association activity coordinator, explained that it was a very meaningful experience for her, because “for international students, it was just such an amazing thing because, well, who else would teach us?”
In addition to the workshops, students also participated in different activities. A avorite seemed to be the rope course. Ron Rodriguez, the LGBTQ Resource Center director, described his experience on the log suspension portion of the course as “one of the things where the whole teamwork thing really kicked in because I was freaking out … here I am, 55 feet in the air, and I’m holding on to this thing and walking onto this log … [but] I made it all the way across. So that, for all the different rewards that came from that, I’d say that was my favorite.”
As to the way Camp Casey would affect students in their daily lives, Rodriguez thought that the camp itself, not just the activities and workshops, greatly benefited his leadership skills because “by sticking it out … it was a good lesson on like … when you’re literally under the gun as a leader and, you know, when everything has got you down … that perseverance really pays off when you stick it out and you just keep going.” Borodina, explained that the lessons learned from Camp Casey weren’t just beneficial professionally, but also personally. She said the students “got to know each of the people, not just as a person that’s working, but as a person like a person, like a friend.”