By Amanda Hage, SSI Administrative Assistant
You have probably heard enough amazing things about MN Student Statesmanship Institute that you are convinced your high school student should attend the program this summer. But what if, like Grace, your teenager has a different opinion?
“Terrified, I was absolutely terrified. It had been a good idea in March, but now that I was face to face with the dorms and people milling about with suitcases in hand, apprehension overwhelmed me. Begging my mother to drive me back home, I clung to the seat of the car. I was absolutely afraid of going to this camp! I was afraid of SSI!” – Grace, 2016 Alumnus
Does that kind of scenario sound familiar? At some point, everyone fears the unknown. Foreign ground is never comfortable, even if it fuels growth. Usually, it takes someone else to push us toward the dreaded new thing. Sometimes it takes a good swift kick. But once the pain is over, we’re glad someone forced us to face our fear.
“After SSI, I had new-found motivation; while I still struggle with the terrible habit of procrastination, I remember the sense of accomplishment I savored at the end of that stretching, wonderful week. Diligence as a lifestyle is something I choose to pursue into my adult life. Looking back, it seems quite humorous how frightened I was of something that was so good for me.” – Grace
On the other hand, maybe your high school student is not scared of trying a week-long summer program. Instead, maybe he or she is set on only having fun and thinks a leadership program sounds boring! They might be able to relate to Shaohannah…
“My parents signed me up for 'government camp' and I was none too pleased. (After all, who wants to go to government camp for a week anyway?!)” – Shaohannah, 2016 Alumnus
Summer is the season for kicking back and having fun, right? In contrast, “government camp” may sound like all work and no fun. But Shaohannah learned SSI is so much more than that.
“I had SO MUCH FUN! After SSI, I was begging my parents to let me come back next year!! SSI wasn't just a boring 'government camp'. I learned more about how government works at SSI than in a whole year of civics. The feats of strength, the caucus meetings, worldview speakers, worship, everything was awesome! I was refreshed in my spiritual walk and challenged to learn more about government. I can't wait for next year!!!” – Shaohannah
Pushed to do what they would not have done on their own, both Grace and Shaohannah reached a change of mind. In fact, they are returning for SSI 2017! What Grace and Shaohannah experienced is an important part of becoming a leader: learning to step up even when something looks frightening or hard.
To those who are on the fence about coming this summer, Shaohannah gives this assurance:
“You don't walk away from SSI empty. Besides the Biblical worldview training and the hands-on legislative teaching, SSI is an amazing camp to just fellowship with like-minded students and staff. [Students] share struggles, eat together, and dump water on one another . . .! SSI-ers walk away empowered to serve God and counter the culture!” – Shaoannah
So if your student is hesitant, help them take the first step. The first step, after all, usually proves the hardest! Share Grace and Shaohannah’s stories with them as an example that new friends can turn this experience into a thrilling one.