MONTREAL, APRIL 28, 2016 - A total of 215 students from across the English Montreal School Board’s network of high schools returned from the 18th annual School Board Leadership Camp at Camp Val-Estrie in Waterville, QC.
This year’s theme was Pangea - just like the primordial continent we can all come together to form something powerful and effective. Students from Secondary I thru V participated in the retreat, coming from James Lyng High School, John F. Kennedy High School, John Paul I High School, LaurenHill Academy, Laurier Macdonald High School, Lester B. Pearson High School, Marymount Academy International, Rosemount High School, Royal Vale High School, Royal West Academy, Vincent Massey Collegiate and Westmount High School.
Guest Speaker, Harriet Turk addressed the EMSB student leaders in the annual keynote address. Some of her key messages included the following: "One of the most courageous things you'll ever do is to shed that invisible costume and just be you. If you don't know who you are, you can't contribute to your team. There's no power in knowledge until you put it into action. When you make the decision to do great things, that's awesome! Stop concentrating on who you are not, and start focusing on who you can be. If you don't honour and respect yourself, why should anyone else honour and respect you? If you stay comfortable all the time, you cannot grow. Protect your integrity."
Camp-Val is the culmination of a student-centred leadership program that results in senior students creating and implementing the three-day camp for students in Secondary I thru IV. The camp connects students from different high schools as they participate in team-building and experiential learning activities designed to develop and hone their leadership skills. Key messages such as positive role modeling and communication, accepting differences and community building are woven through all activities throughout the week. The lessons of camp are far reaching and holistic. Through workshops and hand-on experience as camp organizers, our students learn about conflict resolution, resource management, motivating others, public relations, budgeting and mentorships. Students use these lessons in their school-based leadership programs and they also form an integral part of their own personal development.