MSU Tollgate Farm Steward Teen Leadership Program 2021

What is a Steward? A steward is a person whose responsibility it is to take care of something. This experience offers teens a chance to enrich, mentor, and lead campers while gaining valuable leadership and life skills. In a positive educational environment, teens experience the responsibilities associated with potential career paths before entering college. The Tollgate Camp Teen Steward (15-19 yrs) and Tollgate Steward-in-Training (13-14 yrs) positions are for teens interested in gaining experience working with campers in the farm setting. 

The Stewards-in-Training (SIT) program is the start of the progressive MSU Tollgate Teen Leadership Program. Stewards-in-Training are 13-14 years of age and must have the ability to commit to one full week of camp and no more than 4 weeks. SITs serve as role models for campers during activities.

The Stewards program is for teens 15-19 years of age as volunteer assistants to the educational leaders and role models for both SITs and campers. Stewards develop a deep understanding and knowledge of the farm and our educational camp program and develop skills which can be called upon as they move forward through their academic and work careers.

This camp season, we needed our SIT and Stewards more than ever to help us navigate camp in these unprecedented times. Not only did our SIT and Stewards come ready to support our limited staff and smaller camper groups, they stewarded campers through the camp many know and love after more than a year of interrupted school and changes in routines.

Each morning our Stewards and SITs came ready to help with camp chores to get everything set up to start the day. They then helped welcome our campers at our new check-in location and guided them throughout the day through their camp activities with their educational leader. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Stewards and SITs had their own team building and leadership activities where they explored what makes a strong team and how to be an effective leader. These activities and games are applicable to camp situations with their own campers but also to their own daily lives and future careers. After camp on Tuesdays, Stewards and SITs met with our camp staff to reflect on the highs and lows of their camp days and brainstorm ways to more effectively steward campers.

Outside of their camp weeks, Stewards and SITs were invited to our Mid-Summer Celebration to hear speakers, engage in team-building activities, eat, and celebrate all their accomplishments and growth. At the end of the camp season, our Stewards and SITs helped clean up from a busy camp season and celebrated the closing of camp with food, games, and paper plate awards. We highlight the strengths of these incredible teens and celebrated all over their growth over the season. We are incredibly grateful to these Stewards and SITs for their hard work, enthusiasm, and positive attitude that made MSU Tollgate Farm Summer Camp 2021 a year we will never forget! We look forward to seeing the next group of Stewards and SITs in Summer of 2022. Interested in this program for your teen or a friend or family member? Bookmark our webpage or check out facebook for updates and sign up dates this winter.

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