Summer camps are in full swing around the country. At Virginia Tech, rising 10th graders from all over the state are learning leadership skills at a series of unusual summer camps sponsored by the Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation.

Known formally as the Commonwealth Youth Conference for Leadership Effectiveness, the camps were conceived by Virginia police chiefs who saw a need "to help teens who have leadership potential but lack a sense of purpose or direction," said Sharon Scott, associate director of Management and Professional Development Programs at the Pamplin College of Business, which is organizing the program.

The week's curriculum is built around Sean Covey's book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. The teens discuss the book and do exercises designed to examine their own habits and to develop effective strategies for interpersonal communication, decision making, and problem-solving. "The overall goal," Scott said, "is to help young teens gain a better understanding of themselves and their relationship to others, the value of teamwork and diversity, and their role in their community."

Though university faculty members have helped organize the program and are on call during the week to assist with instruction, the camps are entirely led and taught by five Pamplin College students selected for their experience with youth camps and who have undergone extensive training. Their work as program facilitators, Scott said, gives these students, most of whom are studying business leadership themselves, a good opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills.

The conference is free to participants, who live in dorms on campus, with a facilitator housed in each suite. Five one-week camps have been planned: the first began June 15 and the last will start on July 27.


Week 3, July 6-11: Includes 4 students from Heritage High School in Lynchburg, Radford High School, Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke, and Salem High School.

Week 4, July 13-18: Includes 7 students from Roanoke, Salem, and Lynchburg schools.

Week 5, July 27-Aug 1: Includes 6 students from Roanoke, Lynchburg, and Pulaski schools.