Aug. 4, 2022-- The district's Peer Leadership Program-- a summer camp which premiered in 2018-- continued in 2022, and may have proven to be the best and clearest manifestation of what leaders had intended the program to be.
Hosted at Beachwood Elementary School, the program ran July 25 through 28, and included fifth-grade students from all 12 district elementary schools.
"As in years past," said Beachwood Supervisor James Klass, "this program focused on developing the skills of aspiring fifth-grade leaders in the areas of empathy, responsible decision making, self care, and giving back to the community."
The 2022 iteration of the Peer Leadership Program seemed more robust than ever. Students envisioned and created affirmation posters and wall hangers. They participated in communication activities to help their social and public speaking skills, including Zoom meetings with residents at Brandywine Living in Toms River. They hosted special guests including Food Services Director Jeff Hanaway, who taught them how to make healthy food; Toms River Mayor Maurice "Mo" Hill, who spoke about leadership; and officers from Toms River Police Department, who taught about preparedness, as well as physical and emotional health. Speaking of health, peer leaders learned proper stretching and breathing techniques, opened each session with a series of exercises, and played fun, competitive games. And in what was arguably the most enjoyable facet of this year's camp, students met and learned about therapy dogs from reps at Caregiver Volunteers of New Jersey, who taught about the dogs' training and their role in sustaining the emotional health of those in need.
All in all, it was another successful summer Peer Leadership Camp, one which undoubtedly forged the future leaders of this district, and left them with a lifetime's supply of memories.