Lindsey Strock and Jared Buckendahl of Alta Elementary School attended the Iowa STARBASE Leadership Conference (ISLC) from June 16-21 at Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa.
A six-day leadership camp conducted annually at Camp Dodge, the students were chosen for the camp by school counselors and teachers, who nominated campers for ISLC based on their leadership abilities and potential. The 100 students (50 boys and 50 girls) from across Iowa learned about leadership and how to use their personal skills in a positive way at home, in school and in the community.
Throughout the week students were involved in activities designed to improve self-esteem and confidence, effective communication, problem solving, decision making and teamwork.
One program the students participated in was the Dreams + Action = Reality program, which showed them how to set goals and take the positive steps necessary to achieve those goals, whether they be inside or outside of the school environment. This program also taught them the importance of being a positive role model and leader while learning that the decisions they make today can and do affect their decisions and opportunities later in life.
The students also participated in a number of other activities at ISLC, including the challenger learning center space shuttle simulator at the Science Center of Iowa and a leadership reaction course at Camp Dodge.
They also took part in the Mars City Alpha science project, where students used recyclable material to build a scale model of the first colony on Mars. In this exercise, students assumed identities from around the world and worked to overcome difficulties such as language barriers and different customs, religions, holidays and laws.
A graduation ceremony for the students was then held at the end of the week. The event included a certificate and medallion for each participating student.
The Iowa National Guard has conducted the STARBASE program since 1994. The STARBASE counselors and instructors, which include members of the Iowa Army and Air National Guard and nonmilitary personnel, all have training and background in education and counseling.