Leadership Development Program

Since the beginning, the Camp Edwards program has focused on the necessity of building strong character and leadership.

In 1929, camp was founded on strict principles of self-improvement, physical fitness, and perseverance. Following the narrative of many YMCA camps at that time, to build strong and fit boys willing to serve their country, Camp Edwards followed many militaristic standards of honor and pride. Besides building leadership was the fun of camp that we love today; swimming, sailing, canoeing, fishing and other outdoor pursuits.

As our history shows, camp had to close from 1943-1947 due to World War II. A significant reason camp closed was the pride men felt to volunteer to fight in the war, leaving camp the inability to find mature, responsible male role models for the campers. As it has been written in our 50th anniversary book, “Many of those men never saw the shores of Lake Beulah again.”

Keeping true to tradition, our leadership programs focus on building determined, thoughtful, resourceful, and caring individuals. As they move through our programs, it is our intention to help them become a respectable, honest, positive, and compassionate leaders as they travel on the road of life.

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Leader in Training

Ages 15 & 16

The Leaders in Training program, or LIT for short, is a part of the Leadership Development Program at Camp Edwards. The LITs spend two weeks living in Runge Lodge and spend one night on a camp out at a nearby state park. We recommend for campers to go through the LIT program before the JL (Junior Leader) Program, because skills built in the LIT program will benefit them greatly. Those who are 15-16 are eligible to enter into the program.

The Leaders In Training Program is the first program in the Leadership Development Programs, here at Camp Edwards. The goal of the Leader in Training program is to craft leaders with the characters and virtues that have been stressed through the honors system at Camp Edwards. The Leaders in Training will be given the resources to learn patience, empathy & respect, stress management, communication skills, responsibility and how to be proactive, the overall goal of the program being leadership. By the end of the two weeks, we hope that you all will be able to take those leadership skills back into your communities and use them as future leaders at Camp Edwards.

Although the main focus of the LIT program is training participants to be leaders, we also want to stress fun and interaction with other campers as well! Besides team building and other leadership related activities, there will be time to test leadership skills with other campers around camp.

Important items to bring specifically for LIT:

  • A waterproof watch
  • Two plain white t shirts
  • A notebook
  • A folder
  • Pens and Pencils
  • A Bandana
  • Khaki shorts/pants of appropriate length
  • Sleeping bag (for the camping adventure!!)
  • Girls: Please bring at least one one-piece swimsuit
  • Closed toed shoes
  • Clothes you don’t mind getting dirty
  • A positive attitude
  • Crazy outfits for THE DANCE
  • See Camp Edwards packing list for other necessities; Remember that you will be here for two weeks so pack accordingly. There will be NO opportunities to do laundry.

Junior Leader

Ages 16 & 17

The JLs, or Junior Leaders, is open to campers who are 16-17 years old. The JL program takes the leadership lessons learned in LIT to help develop the camper into a prospective staff member. JL’s learn camp operation by working with younger campers. They have the opportunity to take on a bigger leadership role during their camp session, spending one week shadowing cabin leaders and will achieve a greater sense of “team” with their JL family.

JLs are evaluated on their performance and are encouraged to keep their leadership skills sharp through multiple volunteer opportunities throughout the rest of the year. Once completed, the camper becomes an eligible candidate for employment the following summer. While JL is not required to become a staff member, the experience gained in the program provides them an inside track on our camp operation and expectations.