On the 11th of November 2022 we held the tenth Anniversary of Sustainable Hope’s “Leadership Camp” in Khon Kaen, Thailand. This Leadership camp was enabled by funding from a Global Grant submitted by the Rotary Clubs of Independence Missouri and Nakhon Khon Kaen International and a fund-raising Gala by Sustainable Hope.

The local Rotary Club of Nakhon Khon Kaen International working together with Pam, the coordinator from Sustainable Hope Thailand, invited over 78 students and teachers from seven welfare schools in the Isan region of Thailand to participate in the three-day event. The schools from Buriram, Sakhon Nakon, Sisaket, Ubon Ratchathani, Roi Et, Amnat Charoen with the school in Khon Kaen hosting the event.

The Leadership training camp was a three-day event with Friday 11th being the Induction & Check-in Day. All the students, teachers & advisors were taken through the registration process and given their Handbooks, Supply Bags & Official Name Tags. There was then an introduction from Dr. Ken Brookens of “Sustainable Hope” and from Dirk De Koker the President of Rotary Club Nakhon Khon Kaen International Following those introductions an Ice-Breaker activity was arranged by the Head Advisor Becky Rabel where each of the students and teachers had to introduce themselves to someone from another school and then introduce them to the group. It was a great way to learn about people from the different schools and also a way to have them practice public speaking. Following this activity, the first day’s session was brought to an end and preparation for the following days Leadership Camp Training was organised between the teachers, advisors & students.  

Day 2 Saturday 12th Nov. 2022.
The training for the following days was organised in two groups, one group for the Advisors &Teachers on the first floor and one group for the Students on the ground floor. At the start of the first session the students were introduced to their main instructor Pam, the coordinator for Sustainable Hope and this session was dedicated to explaining about Sustainable Hope and the Rotary Club’s involved, an introduction to the “We Can Club” and what they will learn during the next sessions. Leadership, Language, Organisation, Citizenship, Teamwork, Skill Development, Public Speaking, Career Planning and Celebration are all part of the curriculum that will enable each one of them to have a wonderful and successful future.

The student instruction was led by Pam from Sustainable Hope assisted by 3 experienced “We Can Club” Advisors who had attended several Leadership Camps in the past and who successfully led the We Can Club activity in their respective schools. Khun Dave from Amnat Charoen, Khun Mot from Buriram, and Khun Kae from Ubon Ratchathani helped make the training more effective, diverse, and engaging.

Khun Mod and Pam continued to teach them the “We Can Be Anything” Song, the words, and the meaning, so they understood why this song was chose to be the Club song, followed by explaining the Club emblem and teaching the students the We Can Club pledge. This first session ended by elaborating on the Club Name and the Club rules each Club had to decide and instruct them to design 2 posters. First a banner with their club’s name and illustrations that represents the purpose and personality of their Club and the values they stand for.
Second, one banner listing their club rules creating a pathway to accomplish the purpose of their Club. On the 3rd day each school will present the posters to the group and explain in brief the designs and content.

Following the instruction part, the students broke up in 7 groups, one per school, discussed and decided on their Club name and rules and worked on the design of their Club banner and rules poster. After a well-deserved break the next session addressed “Who does what” in the We Can Club. Dave explained the role of the advisor and the different leadership roles in the Club. There are nine leaders in each club who are, the: - Senior Leader, - Team Leader, - Secretary, - Co-Leader, - Refreshment Leader, - Activity Leader, - Facility Leader, - Greeter - Song Leader, Once Dave was clear all the students understood the different Leadership roles, the room was split again in 7 groups so they could discuss amongst themselves and decide who would take up which role within their Club. And during the remaining time before lunch, they continued to work on the design of their Club Banner and Club Rules. In the first afternoon session, Khun Kae, Khun Mod, and Khun Dave, elaborated on How to run a We Can Club meeting and the different activities and responsibilities the 9 Leadership roles must assume. The students will need to put this part in practice on Sunday morning when they are going to have their first, We Can Club meeting. Following a short break, Pam explained the Club’s organization and the service projects the We Can Club should conduct each semester. The students broke up again in 7 groups to discuss about their first service project. The last session was conducted by Khun Kea who pointed out the importance of making your dreams come through, by stating that there are no limits to your imagination and that by setting the right goals many if not all of your dreams can become reality. YOU CAN DO IT. While students learned about the We Can Club and the things they had to do, the teachers went through a similar program to become certified Advisors. Suniza Frenzel and Becky Rabel explained in a more condensed manner the purpose of the Club, the different student leadership roles and how to run a We Can Club meeting. Becky in English and Suniza in Thai continued to teach the advisors their specific role and responsibilities. Their main role being teaching conversational English and developing Life and Leadership skills at each meeting and guide and mentor the students in how to conduct their weekly meeting. They also learned about the importance of the secretary book as it is the official record keeping of the meetings, confirming attendance, and monitoring the specific lessons taught. 

A We Can Club meeting has 5 main & important parts:

  • Team building
  • Business (Old & New)
  • English Lesson
  • Team building
  • Team building

Amanda Next, we had dinner and a teambuilding activity between all student and advisors and some time for the students to work a furthermore on the design of their banners. On Saturday evening there was a very entertaining activity as each school made a performance, which was prepared in advance. There were skits and musical acts that charmed the audience.  

Sunday was the final day and after breakfast the students and advisors reviewed and rehearsed some of the details before having their first "We Can Club" meeting. Each school held their meeting where students conducted the first part of the meeting, and the advisors taught an English lesson as well as a Life Skill lesson.

The closing activity of the leadership camp started with the students presenting their Club Banners & Club Rules, the advisors presented their vision for their Club, upon which both students and advisors received their Certificates of successful participation. The camp ended with an outdoor photoshoot before teachers & students returned to their respective schools early in the afternoon.

The Leadership Camp was a transformative experience for both Students, and Teachers. The Rotary Clubs and Sustainable Hope were thrilled to witness the growth and development of these young leaders.
This camp served as a reminder that with education and leadership development, anything is possible!! .

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