Learning about leadership

Local students are preparing for another year of Camp Lead-Up, a leadership development institute.

Through a summer institute, Marcus Bass is looking forward to helping local students prepare for a world beyond high school through Camp Lead-Up.

The 2015 career and leadership development for rising freshmen will be held from July 13 through 17 on the campus of Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte. Founded in 2010, with the help of First Baptist Church, the purpose of the five-day camp is to prepare youth for leadership roles and to make them productive members in the community. Another important goal is to encourage post-secondary education.

“This year is going to be really exciting,” Bass said. “We’ve seen growth every single year in the program thanks to the support of the community and other individuals.”

During its fifth year, Bass said the program will be provided to other students across the state, with the majority of the students coming from Sampson County. The students will have an opportunity to live on a campus to receive the college experience for a short period of time during the summer. In addition, they will participate in job shadowing activities with local business and civic leaders in the Charlotte area.

“They have different speakers come and talk to them throughout the week,” Bass said.

During the trip, he said they want to take the student behind the scenes to tour facilities such as Bank of America Stadium and Time Warner Cable Arena.

“There’s going to be a lot they’re going to experience to really help prepare them for college and careers and for graduation,” Bass said.

This year’s program is different from a selection standpoint. Previously, the program accepted students from all middle school grade levels. But this time around, Bass said the program is focusing on providing the best service possible to their students by selecting students who are currently in the eighth grade.

“This is really an experience for them to prepare for high school and to see the broader goal, which is getting into college and getting a job,” Bass said. “The four years that you have in high school only give a short period of time to prepare for colleges and careers. I think a lot of students don’t think about college or where they want to work until their sophomore, junior or seniors years.”

Bass said First Baptist Church, organizations and other churches such as Snow Hill and Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, have always been an anchor in the project. The organization is currently seeking more support to provide the camp free for the students.

“Along with that and other support, we definitely want to keep building the program,” he said.

Like many other assistants and students, Bass says he is looking forward to the upcoming session. Regardless of the location and learning opportunity available, Bass said they always want to emphasize success.

“No matter where we do the camp — Charlotte, Raleigh, Fayetteville — we always want to stress the fact that we want students to be successful and create young leaders that are ready to come back to Clinton and North Carolina,” he said.

The deadline to apply is June 19. For more information about the camp, the selection process or to donate, visit www.campleadup.org.