They are eleven and twelve years old and just DONE with traditional day camps. They’ve made the circuit of local sports and pottery camps, exhausted their options. They are caught in the middle of what now? Too young to officially have a job, too young to be officially in charge, what on earth can they do during these long, hot summer months that’s fun, engaging and educational, not too young and not too old?

They can become leaders. Last summer the creative minds behind Camp Curiosity saw a need: kids in the middle don’t want Superhero camp anymore. Even if they do (because let’s face it; we ALL want Superhero camp), they won’t sign up for it. It’s too young for them. So guess what, this is the perfect time for these middle schoolers to get some training on how to be an independent operator. Kids in the middle grades need some guidance and training in addition to experience with work.

That’s how the Junior Leadership Program was conceived, and this year Camp Curiosity implemented the only summer leadership program of its kind in Central Kentucky. The program looks like an internship but with specific training sessions each day on topics like health and safety, how to successfully deal with challenging kids, how to be a good role model, and more. The middle schoolers in the program learn each morning what their jobs are and how to manage them, and then they are sent on their way to work in the sometimes literal “field,” ready to be their best.

“The Junior Leadership Program came from a need,” Virginia Daugherty, Camp Curiosity Associate Director explains. “We had kids in middle school who wanted to be here, wanted to help, and we wanted them here, but there wasn’t enough of a structure for them. They weren’t campers but they weren’t counselors either. This program gives them the training they need to do their best and learn how to be leaders in any area of life.” Virginia goes on to explain that the program is new this year, but they have plans for expanding its content for subsequent summers. “It’s really the only leadership program of its kind for kids of this age, so there is a lot we can do with it and with the kids. I’m excited to watch and help it grow.”

Members of the program start their day with leadership training and spend the rest of the day as interns in the various areas of Camp Curiosity where they work with campers and administrators. Like all core and ancillary programs at the #2 best private elementary school in the country, The Lexington School, the ultimate focus is ALWAYS on teaching and learning in a student-centered way. Way to go, Camp Curiosity!

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