Commnication Camp helps students build empathy

Steven Grigereit, Editor In chief

Communications Camp is one of the best experiences Milford High School has to offer. With approximately 60 students and 14 teachers/administration. This camp offers a variety of activities and opportunities for students to grow as individuals and as a community.
Communications camp has been around since 2003 and has been conducted almost every year since, with an exception of a short couple-year span. Mrs. Pishek, the director for this year’s Communications Camp, has been involved with camp since 2003 and has run it for the last two years.
Communications Camp is essentially a camp in which students identified as future leaders or current leaders of Milford are selected and invited by teachers. This year, the camp was at Camp Copneconic and lasted about 48 hours (Sunday afternoon- Tuesday afternoon). The purpose of this camp is getting people to come together. In order to achieve this, the students are not allowed to have any electronic devices in their possession.
“The camp allows students to build empathy for each other… If you’re going to be at Communications Camp, you need to be fully there.” Mrs. Pishek said “Not allowing phones gives students the opportunity to step back and go back to the basics.”
The first afternoon at the camp was the big reveal. The students were randomly grouped together. In many of the cases, the students had never spoken a word to their group members before this interaction From there, the newly-founded groups were sent to go do different team building activities throughout the property, all of which needed every mind, body, and voice. This forced people from all different backgrounds to work together and cooper-ate, helping them build a personal relation-ship and trust in each other.
In between many of the activities, there was free time. During this free time, students were allowed to explore, play card games, sleep…etc. One of the favorites of the camp was Gaga ball, a game in which people are in an enclosed pit of wood walls. The goal of the game is to hit the ball into other people’s ankles which would “get them out.” The last one in the game is the winner.
During free periods, it seemed like all 50 students were in the Gaga ball pit, battling it out. Though this didn’t seem like it could build friendships, it had quite the opposite effect. When people would get out, they wouldn’t pout, instead would support the other players, giving every student a sense of comfort.
At the end of the first night, the camp hosted a bonfire and students made smores and participated in charades or simply talked around the fire. The students also had the option of going on a trail walk in the dark.
The next day was similar to the first, except for the sharp 7 a.m. wake up. The groups participated in activities such as zip lining and Disc Golf.
While many activities were goal-oriented there were others that were not.
While at the camp, many group conversations were held. Some included all 50 students, but most were in the smaller groups. These conversations lasted any-where from one to two hours. Some may ask what these conversations were? These conversations were student led and only those in the group knows what was talked about. This is not because huge secrets were being revealed, but because the friendships and bond the students made is tight enough to were they wouldn’t want to talk about it, especially if it would expose one of their group members.
“It gave me the opportunity to get to know people without the stress of the school environment. I was able to get to know people i’ve seen but never talked to,” said Senior Adrienne Willis.
Like Willis, Junior Ethan Ostin only had positives to say about the experience. “I wasn’t sure what it was going to be like when I first arrived,” he said, “but honestly when it was done I wish I could’ve stayed longer because it was fun and it truly felt good to meet new people and talk about meaningful topics.”
The last day included two more group meetings and then the students loaded onto the buses and returned to MHS.
Senior Finn Wilson en-joyed the experience. “I met a lot of new people I don’t think I would have ever got to know,’ he said. ‘I’m leaving with no regrets and definitely a different perspective on life.”
The camp is a great opportunity for any student who in invited. Real-life experiences are shared and campers’ eyes are opened to the world in which they live.
So for those future students who are invited; It’s an honor and you should think long and hard about accepting this incredible opportunity.