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Staff Reflections

"From the time I was 12 years old until I was 18, I attended Camp Weloki as a camper. I've learned many skills from camp and all of those skills have helped me become a reflective leader. The first way camp taught me to be a leader was to listen. At camp we practice many skills but they always focus on listening to others and negotiating without giving up what you truly want. I think many times people overlook the significance of listening as a leadership trait. I think if you asked people what they thought leadership looks like, they might say "powerful" or "in-charge" but true leadership involves good listening and communication skills, which I learned and practiced at Camp Weloki.

Inevitably, there are times as a leader when you have to say something which is difficult or uncomfortable. Camp taught me to use "I messages" and emotional words from my own perspective rather than using blaming or accusatory words. No one wants to feel like they are being put on the spot, but if you are talking about yourself and saying "I felt..." the message comes across clearly without making others feel like they have to defend themselves. As a teacher in a pre-kindergarten classroom, this has especially helped me communicate with parents.

Finally, over the years as I kept going back to camp, I had fewer and fewer "issues" to talk about because my life was overall more positive and healthy. However, I kept going back every summer because I kept learning. One of the most valuable things I learned was that everyone has a story. I've heard people share about losing parents and seen grown men cry. I learned no one is exempt from hurt and pain throughout their lives and I think as a leader it's important to respect everyone's differing life experiences.

Overall, camp taught me to listen, communicate effectively, and be compassionate toward others. I didn't learn these things overnight or in just one week of camp. Each summer built upon my past experiences and taught me to really understand myself and others much better. I know I wouldn't be the leader I am today without the insight I learned at Camp Weloki."

~ Linda Smith

Becky Witte"Camp has helped me to be a quality leader. I understand others, I listen, and communicate better through the tools I've learned at camp over the years. I go for the Win Win, in my job and in my life. All parties win and that has allowed for success at work and in my personal relationships. I trust and focus on what I want to create. This helps spread the good, in a world that many times likes to worry.

I graduated from the University of Missouri in 1997 with a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing; I have been participating with camp since 1993. Tools from camp have helped me to be a confident interviewer. I have also kept a job through an economy of downsizing. I am a district manager for Electrolux Major Appliances in New York State; this is my third company in my industry. Each time I was recruited by my next employer because my customers spoke so highly of me. With my last job, I was hired with a signing bonus! Since graduating from college, I've taken a week of vacation every year to return to camp. It is an honor to return every summer and learn from the amazing group that gathers for that week."

~ Smiles & Love!!
~ Becky Witte

"Camp has made me who I am today. It has made me a stronger, better, more well-rounded person. The life skills I have received from camp are endless, and continue to grow as I return each year. For me camp is almost like a second family, when I go I know I won't be judged and there is an all loving atmosphere surrounding each person. Camp Weloki has taught me to be an independent, individual and stand up for what I believe in. It has taught me to use my voice in confident, positive ways and help me to be a leader for others. I truly love camp and everyone who is involved in camp so much, I consider each and every person part of my family. Thanks Tim and Anne; Camp Weloki is my other home."

~ Becca Moss
~ Junior in High School, CIT


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