“Dare to Dream is the center piece for an overall character curriculum here in our schools for all 12 grades. Dare to Dream starts at fifth grade,” said Jeff Harris, Sulphur Springs Middle School history teacher and Sulphur Springs Independent School District character curriculum coordinator and camp director.
He said Dare to Dream was previously a program offered from the mid 1990s through 2003, first for Sulphur Springs students then in later years extended to other county students, while he was at Shannon Oaks Church. During that time, approximately 2,000 Hopkins County students attended the program. He took it with him when he moved to Fort Worth and offered it for three years at Crowley High School.
Harris took the 100 students who have volunteered to serve as counselors for the Dare To Dream camp to SSES Friday morning, where they hosted an informational pep rally inviting all 325 fourth graders, students who will be transferring to Douglas Intermediate next year, to sign up for the three-day “dynamic leadership camp.”
The camp will be hosted Aug. 20-22, at Douglas Intermediate, the students’ new campus for the 2014-15 school year. The 100 students who will be serving as camp staff and counselors consist of eighth graders and high school students recommended for the leadership roll by campus administrators. Half of the group consists of this year’s eighth graders, who will be freshman next year at Sulphur Springs High School, and the other will be upperclassmen at SSHS.
“These students have volunteered to give up three days of their summer to help train the 325 students entering Douglas to be leaders in their school,” Harris noted. “We have invited next year’s fifth graders to go. We are hoping 300 sign up,” Harris noted.
The program will be offered for free, thanks to partnerships from community businesses, for any of these future Douglas fifth graders; however, in order to attend, the student must obtain and return a camp form complete will all information and parent signature. The form must be turned in to the SSES fourth grader’s homeroom teacher by May 16.
Each camper will receive a Dare to Dream leadership T-shirt. Breakfast and lunch will be provided for all campers.
The camp will include leadership training, fun games and team building activities.
Students who are not dropped off at Douglas can ride a bus from one of four other campuses. Buses will pick up Douglas students from Bowie, Travis and Lamar Primary schools as well as Sulphur Springs Elementary. Students start their day at Douglas at 8 a.m. with breakfast and welcoming comments and finish up loading onto buses at 4 p.m.
Dare to Dream’s focus is built around a motivational movie. This year’s will pull nine lessons from “Remember the Titans.” Students will watch about 15 minutes of the movie, from which various leadership topics are pulled. A community speaker will talk to the students about the leadership topic. Session topics include: “Color Won’t Matter,” “Submitting to Authority,” “Learning About My Teammate,” “Becoming One,” “Standing for Unity,” “Leaders Step Forward,” “Using Your Individual Talents,” “Winning with Integrity” and “Overcoming Adversity.”
Campers will divide into groups of eight fifth graders with three high school counselors per group to discuss what they’ve seen and heard and how they can apply the skills and encourage others to be leaders at school during the 2014-15 school year. They’ll also participate in team building games — think lower ropes coures — and make “vision” posters. There’ll even be a “Titans” dance.
Parents are invited to join their students for the closing ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22. Campers will asked to stand before their 2014-15 teachers at Douglas and pledge to be leaders in their classrooms and community.
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