by Jasmine Han, Communications Dept. Summer Intern
August 2016 — Emily Song has been attending Red Cross Los Angeles Region Leadership Development Camp (LDC) since 2009 when she was a first-year delegate and student at Crescenta Valley High School. This year, from Aug. 1-5, she served as the camp’s director overseeing a volunteer staff of 50 people and 85 camp delegates and is now a graduate of UC Riverside.
Red Cross has been sponsoring LDC for high school students for over 50 years. The overnight camp is committed to training and empowering the area’s youth to build confidence and cultivate core leadership skills such as teamwork, public speaking, and diversity/cultural understanding in hopes that these skills can later be used on school campuses and in life. Volunteers, in both high school and college level, lead the camp and create sessions and activities that reinforce delegates’ individual and team leadership skills.
Song and some Advisory Board members started planning this year’s camp January, and in March, training for the staff members began. Song volunteered to be this year’s camp director because it was a way for her to give back to LDC. She wanted to push herself “to utilize the skills from camp and pass on the traditions to new staff so the legacy could continue.” She explained that LDC has always helped her grow and learn more about herself, and it was where she met some her closest friends.
“LDC is an amazing place where people learn to accept others and themselves. The camp allows everyone to grow and see what type of leader they are. When we enter the mountains, we are strangers, but when we leave, we are family,” said Song.
Delegate Josh Hwang praised Song as a camp director. “It was really clear that she had everyone’s interest at heart. I saw her happy side when she was having a good time and also her serious side when she was making sure that everything was going as planned. She is very patient and kind.”
Running a camp with a bunch of young adult volunteers is no easy task. But Song managed to do it successfully. She helped touch the lives of the delegates who attended to become leaders who make a difference in their schools and communities.