SPOTLIGHT: Buffalo, NY Affiliate’s Tomorrows’ Leaders Camp

SPOTLIGHT: Buffalo, NY Affiliate’s Tomorrows’ Leaders Camp

The Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (ECCPASA) offers “Tomorrows’ Leaders Camp” (TLC), a fun, yet educational camp that provides interactive, hands-on experiences that will teach and enhance the leadership qualities of its young participants.

TLC is an extension of community and school-based prevention programming and services that are provided to youth throughout Erie County. Summer camp provides an opportunity to continue to teach prosocial skills throughout the summer.

Current research shows that substance abuse prevention is more effective when it is paired with education, social skills, decision making skills and refusal skills. Tomorrows’ Leaders Camp has developed its curriculum based on the current research along with evidence-based programs and is designed to address the needs of children ages 8 to 12 years old.

TLC is a two-week program starting the last week of June. Realizing that many of the children have just completed school, the camp is designed to be fun, action-packed with learning and leadership through activities. TLC is sponsored by a local supermarket and several local businesses which allows ECCPASA to keep the cost affordable. Camp is further enriched by presentations from guest speakers, local celebrities, performers and other community members.

The youngsters participate in two field trips, traveling to local attractions and venues. They have the opportunity to show their problem solving skills and team building techniques even during water days. The camp concludes with a carnival, Mexican fiesta or even campers participating in the obstacle course they designed as part of their Summer Olympics. Parents are invited to join us as we celebrate the Leaders who have participated in camp for those two weeks.

Each year the camp has a different theme such as “TLC and a Healthy Me,” “Being a Better Me,” “Discover Me.” The theme of Tomorrows’ Leaders Camp 2016 is “It’s a Small World.” The children will learn about the unique cultures, landscape, traditions and food that make this world wonderful. They will play the games that children their age play in the respective country. Although people may live or be from a different part of the world, have different cultures, practices and traditions, they are similar in many ways.

This is an opportunity to teach tolerance and acceptance of others while embracing a new experience. Daily activities provide campers with a better understanding and appreciation for the cultures, cuisine, children’s games, and traditions of other counties and continents throughout the world.

We challenge campers to carry out the true meaning of our Tomorrow’s Leaders Camp by being leaders in their classrooms and communities, sharing their newly acquired knowledge with their family and peers, while embracing others, who may celebrate different traditions, wear different clothing, eat different foods, or participate in different activities.

When the campers age out of the program there is an opportunity for them to become Junior Counselors. These youth utilize this experience to strengthen their own leadership qualities as well as fulfilling the community service requirement.

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