Every year, the American Red Cross hosts LDC, or Leadership Development Camp. And each year, there are those who don’t want to go, but are forced to. However, although many are nervous and expect to have a boring time, more times than not, they are proven wrong.
LDC is different from other camps. Kids don’t just sit around, sing Kumbaya, eat smores, go home, and then forget about 90% of the things that happened. Instead, this particular camp consists of five long and hard yet enlightening days. During those days, delegates learn and develop leadership skills, such as public speaking, from staff members.
“I’ve grown so much from the person I was before LDC,” delegate Debbie Ryu said. “I’m usually such a shy and quiet person, but I’ve really come out of my shell. I honestly thought I wouldn’t have fun, or meet anyone I would keep in contact with afterwards. But LDC was truly magical, and I met a friend who’s become a sister to me.”
Many who go to LDC are kids who are nervous about speaking up or meeting new people. But after LDC, they often don’t feel that way anymore. The amount of encouragement from everyone is overwhelming. Everyone makes each other feel like they can do anything they set their minds to, whether it is speaking in public, speaking your mind, making new friends, or simply daring to dream.
However, LDC doesn’t just teach leadership skills; it also creates irreplaceable bonds between everyone, especially clans. Delegates and staff members are split into “clans” or groups, who then have friendly competitions. On the first night, a rivalry was held between the clans called “Clash of the Titans”. This consisted of six games- such as sack races and a human version of Hungry Hungry Hippos- in which the clans rotated and competed. The winning team got the prize of being the first to eat the next day. However, although most were very competitive, it wasn’t winning that was on everyone’s mind by the end; it was fun. Furthermore, temporary groups are randomly formed within delegates every day so that everyone has a chance to meet new people. Activities like these allow long-lasting friendships to form.
LDC has a saying: “For those who have never been to LDC, no explanation is possible. For those who have been to LDC, no explanation is necessary.” For those who have never been, there is no possible explanation that can be given to show what LDC is and does. But for those who have been, there is no need for one. Those who have been just know.