Two 4-H students learned about leadership and the importance of conquering their fears at a 4-H Cooperative Conference.
Bradwell Institute seniors De-Quan Rogers and Jordan James, both 17, attended the five-day conference in Covington at the FFA-FCCLA Center. Their trip was sponsored by Georgia Electric Membership Corp.
The conference is a summer leadership camp designed to help students reach their potential as leaders.
“The Cooperative Conference basically helps us learn how to be a leader, how we can help people, get rid of shyness and meet people,” Rogers said. “The best thing about it is the activities that you aren’t accustomed to.”
There were teamwork activities, including a mud-run course, and activities that help students face their fears, such as a ropes course, zip line and rock climbing.
James described one activity called The Blob. Also known as a water blob, it looks like a giant inflatable pillow filled with water. One person jumps on the blob from a high platform while another participant lies or sits on the blob, waiting to be launched into the air and into the water.
“For someone like me who can’t swim, it was nerve-wracking, but they had a lot of supportive people around,” James said.
The conference also taught different aspects of leadership, like recognizing the differences between individuals.
“The cooperative camp really helped us be able to understand other people, so when we’re leading, we’ll be able to understand how to better lead because we understand how they interact with one another,” James said.
James attended the conference because he loves meeting new people and wanted to become a better leader. He knew going to the camp would do just that, and he would have experiences that he normally wouldn’t enjoy at home.
Rogers also experienced something new. He said that a lot of students he met lived in small, sheltered cities and never met someone who thought and lived differently.
“When I went up there I saw people who do the exact same things that I do, and I saw people who do different things than I do,” Rogers said. “Me personally, I had never been to a farm. So when I went up there, I went to a farm and got to see where milk comes from, cheese products and dairy products. I never got to experience that before. It was great.”
The students said their favorite part was the mud-run course. James said he was apprehensive at first because of the mud but, once they go into it, it was fun and everyone was excited.
There wasn’t a lot of down time at the camp because it had a packed schedule. Among the events included were a talent show, firearms and archery course, cupcake wars and team competitions.
However, during what free time they did find, Rogers and James played card games with the other attendees and forged new relationships.
Rogers said he met a lot of great people, and they still keep in contact.