Camp offers kids fun and leadership skills

KeShawn Perry stocked up on water ball ammo during the water fight at Victoria College. His arsenal wasn't enough to protect him from a surprise attack from Benjamin Biles.
  • VICTORIA BUSINESS AND EDUCATION COALITION

  • The VBEC offers many ways for business leaders to get involved in schools and with kids.

    VBEC volunteers teach classes to high schoolers, participate in career fairs and mentor students of all ages.

    To find out how to get involved, ...

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  • VICTORIA BUSINESS AND EDUCATION COALITION

    The VBEC offers many ways for business leaders to get involved in schools and with kids.

    VBEC volunteers teach classes to high schoolers, participate in career fairs and mentor students of all ages.

    To find out how to get involved, call Lanell Mantey at 361-572-8232 or go to surebetvictoria.com.

Balls sloshed with water bolted from every direction as 12-year-old KeShawn Perry made his way to neutral ground - the popsicle station.

With one hand, he emptied the purple treat into his mouth. His other hand held up the T-shirt wrapped in front of his body holding more than a dozen rounds of water ball ammo.

"I'm prepared just in case I get attacked. Everybody's having a war," he said.

This was day four of Victoria Business and Education Coalition's Youth Leadership Conference, sponsored by Pioneer Natural Resources. The students had settled into an all-out water party on the Victoria College campus after spending the morning volunteering at the Food Bank of the Golden Crescent.

This year's event attracted 100 incoming seventh-graders from all over the Crossroads. The camp aims to help develop leadership skills and to teach traits like honesty, integrity and diligence.

Taking a break from the inflatable water slides, a soaked tug-of-war and kiddie pools filled to the brim with water, KeShawn reflected on what he'd learned so far in the weeklong camp.

"Always persevere, no matter what your goal is in life. Keep on trying, no matter what," the Howell Middle School seventh-grader said.

Activities like rock climbing taught the kids about the ups and downs in life, and a dog trainer taught them about patience and how to not follow the crowd, he added.

Mckynzie Bartee, a seventh-grader at Cade Middle School, said she learned to set short- and long-term goals. Singing at church was her short-term goal. Becoming famous was her long-term goal.

Her principal nominated her to come to the camp, and she said it was something she couldn't pass up.

"I felt special for having this opportunity because somebody's actually watching me, looking up to me," she said.

KeShawn had the same motivations.

"I have a little brother and sister, and I want to help lead them better and make sure they get right," he said.

Plus, what kid wouldn't want to race new and old friends down the water slide or clobber them with buckets of water?

"Every morning when I knew I was going to wake up and come here, I'm like, 'Oh, I can't wait for tomorrow,'" Mckynzie said.

KeShawn was done waiting, too. His popsicle finished, he checked his water ball ammo one more time before heading into the crossfire.

"I'm gonna go attack some people," he said.