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MU Trains Young Future Leaders

High schoolers empowered during MU's Summer Leadership Academy


by Dr Nicolle Mayo - June 27, 2017

The past two weeks have held great success for two groups of incoming 9th grade students in the Tioga County School District chosen to be a part of the Summer Leadership Academy. Leading director, Jessica Prickett, has been coordinating the program for the past four years, and she has seen terrific success from the program. As she says, this program is, “A chance for Northern Tioga County School District to come to Mansfield and learn with Mansfield Alum and current Mansfield students confidence building activities, team building activities, as well as positive ways to interact with each other.”

Less than three-dozen students from the Tioga County school district are handpicked to participate in an interactive educational program hosted at Mansfield University for a week camp. Counselors volunteer to plan, supervise, and participate in the activities developed for students. Without their help and initiation, along with the staff and professors on Mansfield University’s campus to volunteer to bring education alive through interactive events, this program would not be what it is today.

The week starts out on Sunday late afternoon. Students come to campus and meet one another for the first time, while also getting the “lay of the land” from counselors, who educate students about the structure and rules of the week. Right off the bat, students engage in icebreaker activities before turning in for the night. Monday morning comes early with breakfast, and a host of activities planned for the day. Depending on the focus or theme of the week, events planned may vary. This year’s theme was communication. Students had the opportunity to go learn about healthy foods and make their own snacks, tackle the ropes course, learn about memory, attraction, personality, and strategy in psychology. They also learn better communication strategies, like the difference between positive and negative communication. All of that was in one day! Tuesday follows, and this year a hiking trip was planned at the Ithaca Gorges. Students not only get to meet staff and professors at the university, but also celebrate with a pizza party at the President’s home. What a day. Wednesday, students get a sneak peak at interrogation strategies through the Criminal Justice Department, followed by the art of social work. The day is not complete without some rock climbing at Kelchner, or learning about the sciences with Dr. Whitecraft. The final day, Thursday, students get another run at the ropes course, some reflection time, and small group wrap up, before trotting off to the final banquet, where student learning, hard work, and confidence are recognized. What a week! Tears are shed, promises kept to keep in touch and visit…

This year, as well, was the first summer the program has run for two weeks, June 19- 22nd, and June 26th-29th with two separate groups of students both weeks. This means, they are just getting started this week! That must be a grueling two weeks for the counselors! But, they come with great attitudes and passion to really connect with these students.

That’s not all, though. The students, director, and counselors, as discussed by Jessica Prickett, enjoy this program for its fun, games, learning, and relationship building. But, the Summer Leadership Academy also does some of its own research, in terms of successfully building student confidence and further interest in higher education. Resultantly, these students don’t stop their journey here. They continue service in the community through their school, where leadership skills build. School districts also follow these students as they continue their journey, excited to find out where they head after graduation, and what their future holds.

Great work Jessica Prickett and counseling team! It was a pleasure to be a part of and explore this program with you. Thank you for your service and dedication to these students. To the students, we hope you had/ have a great time at camp!


Idea/Concept: Dr Nicolle Mayo

Videography: John Vogt

Video Editing: Andrew Moore

Writing: Dr Nicolle Mayo

Anchor: Dr Nicolle Mayo


Produced by Vogt Media

Funded by Mansfield University, Citizens & Northern Bank

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