By Josiah Young, SSI-MN Program Administrator
Here we are on the other side of year FOUR of SSI Minnesota! What a success! With the exception of a spontaneous zombie apocalypse and the first successful student petition in 3 years, the week sailed along smoothly. Fifty-two students arrived at the University of Northwestern on Sunday night to a welcoming crowd of orange t-shirts and smiling faces to kick off an awesome week of summer camp!
But SSI isn’t just another week of summer camp.
Sure, students have the chance to get away from home for a few days, change up their schedules, and have a ton of fun with new friends and old, but that’s not all. At SSI, many students experience the most condensed week of growth of their entire year. What did it look like? We’ll let the students speak for themselves.
“Jam-packed, fun, challenging, fulfilling.” -Jonathan, 14
“A whirlwind of learning and strategizing and making friends.” -Britte, 15
“It was an amazing experience with new and old friends alike, learning about Jesus and government.” Joshua, 16
“Fun, intensive learning but surrounded by friends and adults who want to see you succeed.” -Jake, 16
“It was so fruitful and welcoming. I enjoyed every minute of it.” -Selma, 16
To give you a better sense of what students are talking about, here are a few highlights from each of the tracks.
Students visited the Capitol three times during the week as they learned the legislative process first hand. Furthering the democratic experience was the successful submission of a talent show petition, spear-headed by mock-Representatives Voit and Summers, which garnered signatures from over two-thirds of the student body.
This year, SSI mock Senators had a steep hill to climb: a 15 page bill and the amendment process. They persevered and conquered Recreational Marijuana and Real ID bills!
Their achievement was crowned at the end of the week when they stood on the House floor to debate their bills, an experience that was not possible in past years while the Capitol was under renovation.
Powering through six papers in six days was quite an accomplishment by the SSI Print Media reporters. Based on their smiling faces and glowing reports, their trips to the Star Tribune headquarters and KSTP studio were definitely highlights for them.
Broadcast reporters may have had a little too much fun during the week, judging by rumors of dance breaks that interrupted work sessions. But mostly, we’re just thankful they made it through the week alive after catching a sudden zombie attack live on camera! Thursday’s broadcast showed it all.
There you have it! A lot of work, fun, and friends as they learned about leadership and faith. So is it “just another summer camp”? We will let you answer that one.