Mikayla Hocker: Camp Ford Helps Teens Grow as Leaders

art-0114-mikaylaThis past July, 14-year-old  Mikayla Hocker attended Camp Ford, a week-long outdoor leadership camp for teens who are starting their freshman year at Siskiyou County high schools. The camp is a collaboration of four partners: The Ford Family Foundation, Siskiyou Family YMCA, Rural Development Initiatives and Adventure White Water.  In 2014, the Camp Ford name changes to Camp L.E.A.D., an acronym for “Leadership Education. Adventure Driven.” Along with specific training in leadership development, an array of fun camp activities and adventures further develop participants’ skills, and foster new friendships too.

Mikayla describes her experience at the camp: “The thing that I was most passionate about at Camp Ford was the amazing leadership activities. We got to find out what kind of leader we are, and learned how to help others more effectively according to our leadership type. We learned the four stages of performing with a group, how to open up and come out of our shell, and we also got to go river rafting every single day.”

NSP: What is it that got you involved with Camp Ford?

MH: “My sister went to Camp Ford the year before I did, and we are both very involved with leadership and volunteer work.”

NSP: What has contributed to helping you apply what you learned during your camp experience?

MH: “The friends that I made at camp have helped me become a better leader.”

NSP: What are you most proud of?

art-0114-mikayla2MH: “I am most proud that Camp Ford helped me break out of my shell and that I learned to take responsible risks. We had campfire almost every night, and at every campfire we had performances of some sort. The campers made up their own skits and sang songs in front of everyone. I have stage fright, but I loved being able to go out in front of everyone and sing without being scared.”

NSP: Do you recommend the camp experience to others?

MH: “Camp Ford was an absolutely amazing experience for me, and I strongly suggest that students attend. The camp is in the summer for 8th graders entering high school. All the camp counselors are Camp Ford graduates. It is sponsored by the Siskiyou Family YMCA so if you want to go,  get in touch with them.”

To find out more about Camp Ford, contact Brady Svilich at (530) 842-0613 or visit the YMCA website at http://www.siskiyou-ymca.org. To contact Mikayla, email  9389@sisuhsd.net.

Lisa Shara
About Lisa Shara

Writer Lisa Shara lives in upper Northern California where she is involved in a variety of community projects.

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