By Lance Wright
This past summer, 13 young people ages 15–16 participated in the LIT (Leader in Training) program at Canterbury Hills Camp. This experience helped each LIT discover and deploy their unique gifts. It was a safe environment for experimentation with permission to take on new challenges without fear of failure.
Over the summer, our LITs participated in weekly Eucharist services, contributing songs, stories, dances or crafts with their cabin group. In daily Chapel services, our LITs were key leaders who helped campers reflect on our Faith in Action theme.
Seeing such a vibrant and competent group of young leaders this past summer has given us great hope and confidence in the quality of leadership at Canterbury Hills Camp for many years to come. Here is a sampling:
“The LIT program has taught me many things. I have gained hard skills, organization skills, responsibility and confidence. I began my LIT 1 summer lacking self-confidence. However, at the end of my LIT 2 summer, I found that I gained a great amount of confidence. This summer I was given more independence in organizing and facilitating activities. I also found that the training was focused on giving me the support I need to be an independent leader. I am grateful for the friendships and memories I have from the program, including the memories made during the Adventure. The LIT Adventure is by far the best part of the LIT program. It is really great to work with your peers to plan a week where you learn and bond with each other. I definitely learned more games and ideas from my peers during the Adventure which I used when we returned to camp. Overall, I believe this program has helped me become more responsible and confident in myself.”
“My experience as an LIT 1 at Canterbury Hills Camp was one for the books. Over the course of just four weeks, I felt my leadership abilities enhanced greatly. Focusing on each branch of leadership ensured we were well-rounded. Not only did we get classroom setting learning sessions, but we also got hands-on experience. We had many opportunities to plan and lead our own camp activities. Applying the skills we learned to the real camp world was very beneficial. Being an LIT, I never felt I was treated differently, just like another camp leader. Everyone at camp was very welcoming, accepting and willing to help and talk when you needed it. I am forever thankful for this experience. It helped me grow as a person. I am so happy to say that Canterbury is like a second home to me.”
“Over my four years as a camper, Canterbury Hills Camp soon became my happy place. But after spending a whole month there as an LIT 1, it truly has become my second home. What makes it home? Well, for me, a home is purely defined by the friendly faces of your family members, and at camp, all my fellow leaders are like my brothers and sisters. Going through the whole experience alongside them resulted in the most rewarding feeling ever. Another aspect of ‘LIT life’ that impacted me greatly over the summer was the learning sessions. The things I learned have stuck with me and I’ve even been using them in my everyday life! The countdown until next summer is already on. It’s going to be the best one yet!!”
Niagara Diocese supported the 2016 LIT program with a Leadership Grant to Canterbury Hills Camp.