50 East 7th Street, New York, NY 10003

Summer Leadership Camp for Youth

Summer 2011

The Middle Project will host 20 high school students in the summer of 2011 in a pilot program to train young leaders of promise for community service and activism from a progressive perspective. Offered in a summer camp style within an urban setting, the three-week program will engage participants in learning about and practicing such key components of leadership as listening and communicating, managing conflict and difference, and community organizing. See below for a general overview of the curriculum.

Reflecting the diversity of the East Village community, participants in the leadership camp will be young men and women who have shown their concern for the community through volunteer service in church or community groups and have been identified by teachers and mentors as demonstrating particular leadership potential. We will partner in this endeavor with two high schools and the Lower East Side Girls Club. The program will follow an experiential approach that includes simulations, listening and communication exercises, and hands-on team projects in the local community. Interactive learning methodologies will include use of the visual arts, music, drama, and the media. The on-site program will be followed by long-term mentoring by youth leaders and adult volunteers from Middle Collegiate Church and the larger community.

Faculty for the program will be drawn from a diverse cadre of researcher-practitioners such as Paul Tough, New York Times editor and author of Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America (2008); Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson, Director of the New York Chapter of the Children’s Defense Fund; and Lyn Pentecost, Ph.D., a sociologist who is the Executive Director of the Lower East Side Girls Club.

Overview of Core Components

  • Group process
  • Values clarification
  • Listening and communications skills
  • The dynamics of power
  • Basics of community organizing
  • Handling difficult conversations
  • Managing conflict and change
  • Negotiating cultural boundaries

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