What is Longacre Leadership Camp?

 

Longacre is a sleepaway camp located on a farm outside Harrisburg Pennsylvania. Each summer we come together with teens and young people to live and learn leadership. 

By focusing on community living, self awareness, and open communication campers and staff develop lifelong friends, indelible memories, and tangible skills. We grow leaders each summer who make lasting impacts on their communities, families, and the world. 

Lindsay Hutchinson

Lindsay Hutchinson

Louise Warner

Louise Warner

 
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Decision-making

Child development theorist Alfie Kohn famously said, "the way a child learns how to make decisions is by making decisions, not by following directions"and we happen to agree. We hope to prepare you (or your child) for that first day when they wake up with no one to tell them what to do. Too many young people take the wheel of their new found freedom when they go to college or reach adulthood and have no idea how to proceed. 

At Longacre, young people are given the space to make decisions for themselves. They choose their activities, choose whom they spend their time with, and choose how they to interact with the community. We offer exciting programmed activities every day, but also build in plenty of unstructured time where our campers can pursue what is interesting to them. During this time they may decide to do anything from play cards, listen to music, throw a baseball, or just talk with one another. Particularly ambitious campers might have some big dream they wish to fulfill during this time (an ongoing art project, perhaps), and we do our best to help those dreams come to life. 

While offering more freedom is all well and good, we also do our best to help the young people who come here understand the ramifications of their actions. They may choose to act irresponsibly, for instance, but our deliberate efforts to help people communicate openly with one another help them to see how their actions have impacted others in the community. On the same token, young people who choose to help others will hear feedback about how kind they have been - authentic feedback from people who appreciate their earnest efforts to help our community. We've seen countless examples where real growth happens as young people come to hone their decision making process based on the feedback of the community.

 

Responsibility

There are no cooks or maintenance staff at Longacre. Instead, we all take responsibility to make sure things run smoothly.

Each day we do some work on behalf of the community. We call it crew. 

Each crew of 6 people stays the same throughout the week, but its responsibility rotates every day.  One day you'll wash dishes, another you'll feed farm animals. Sometimes it takes 30 minutes, sometimes 90 minutes. We all do the best we can.

Crews present a natural opportunity for team building and growth that you won't see elsewhere. Crews come together to solve the real challenges that our community faces in getting through the day, and crews serve vital functions to keep our camp operational. Campers solve real problems that have real payoffs for the community, which leads to much greater growth than any contrived team-building experience could. 

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Passion

Young people are too often told that caring isn't "cool," that being passionate is "too emo," and that cynicism wins more friends than earnestness.

We disagree.

The leaders we most admire are those who dedicate themselves to causes they care about. 

At Longacre, we make space for passion to take hold, and even encourage it. We have countless examples of young people who have "found the best version of themselves" at camp, and in many cases that happens specifically because they have come to life about some cause they care about. What's more, they are surrounded by other young people who also care about things (even if they are different things). Instead of spending time being self conscious about their passions, campers share their passion with one another, and everyone is better off for it.

Our staff and owners are passionate people. Entrepreneurs, activists, risk takers, and dreamers. It's been said that we become the average of the people with whom we spend the most time. If you come here, you won't be able to help but dream on what more is possible in your own life.

 

Direct Communication

Young people spend so much time practicing various things - from times tables and vocabulary words to layups and scales, we understand the value of repetitive intentional exercise in basically any field. But where, then, are the intentional efforts toward character development?

At Longacre we practice our direct communication skills just like a basketball team would practice its layups.

Since Longacre's inception, we have come together as a community at night 4 times per week in something we call "Group." During this time we reflect on the day, we recognize our friends for the positive ways they've influenced us, and we resolve conflicts. Our facilitators help participants practice non-violent communication, own their own feelings, and communicate their needs clearly to others. 

This time of deliberate practice promotes our self-awareness and our understanding of others, and it helps strengthen our community. Our meetings give campers the confidence to clarify their thoughts and the skills to communicate directly with others.

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