More than 500 middle school, junior high and high school students and 85 Missouri Association of Student Councils (MASC) staff members will converge on William Woods University June 13-18 for Summer Leadership Institute.
This year’s theme is “Leadership: The Name of the Game.” Herff Jones, Inc. will sponsor motivational speaker Mike Smith, president of Difference Makers, to jump-start the theme. Having a nationally known speaker is a first for MASC.
“We’re excited to have someone of Mike’s caliber here at William Woods,” Terri Johnson, executive director of MASC and camp director, said.
Students will build leadership skills through positive team building activities throughout the week and put those skills to practice through two charity events: a children’s carnival and duck race for Special Olympics.
The children’s carnival is 2 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 15. It is a free event, open to all children in the Fulton community. Twenty-six booths will be set up for carnival games, a moonwalk, drinks, popcorn and cotton candy—all free to anyone in attendance.
The “Adopt a Duck for a Buck” duck race will be held the following day, Wednesday, June 16, from 6 to 7 p.m. Melody Prawitc, coordinator for the northwest district of Special Olympics, will work alongside Johnson to organize the event.
Those wishing to participate may buy, or “adopt,” a rubber duck for $1. All proceeds go toward Special Olympics. Ducks will be “raced” across the university’s Senior Lake, and prizes will given to winners. There are approximately 70 different prizes, ranging from CD’s and t-shirts to TV’s and VCR’s.
Last year, 2,376 ducks were adopted, raising $2,376 for Special Olympics. This year, 3,000 ducks are ready for adoption. “If we get 2,500 [ducks adopted] we’ll be happy. It’s always good to increase your goals,” Johnson stated.
Johnson believes that participation in the Special Olympics charity is the embodiment of what it means to be a true leader.
“True Leadership is about service to other people. It’s not about being in the limelight; it’s about service to your fellow man…which is why we chose Special Olympics, because that is about helping an under-serviced population that needs to feel good about themselves all the time.”
William Woods University has hosted MASC for more than 20 years. Participants are selected following criteria established by each school. According to Johnson, the number of students per school varies from one to 22. Altogether, 113 schools across the state are represented in this year’s camp.
Johnson is adamant that the purpose of the camp is also the most beneficial factor of MASC. “Student council in schools is for every kid to feel accepted and for every kid to be a part of something and that is what we try to teach here at school and at camp. We try very hard at Student Council Camp to understand that acceptance of everyone is important. Not just for the popular and the elite, but for everyone.”
Johnson says she is “eternally grateful” to William Woods for hosting the event each year. “We feel very fortunate to work with this campus and be a part of it. They’re a great staff and we appreciate everything they do for us very much.”