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Teens and police officers learn leadership skills in summer camps


BLACKSBURG, Va., June 20, 2006 – This summer, rising 10th graders and police officers from all over the state will learn leadership skills in two separate programs on the Virginia Tech campus sponsored by the Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation and organized by the Pamplin College of Business.

The teen program, known formally as the Commonwealth Youth Conference for Leadership Effectiveness, was conceived by Virginia police chiefs who saw a need “to help young people who have leadership potential but lack a sense of purpose or direction,” said Sharon Scott, associate director of the Pamplin College’s Center for Management and Professional Development.

Scott said that this year, more than 160 high-school students will attend the program, organized as a series of five one-week camps for about two dozen participants each week. The week’s curriculum is built around Sean Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. The teens discuss the book and do exercises designed to examine their own habits and to develop effective strategies for interpersonal communication, decision making, and problem-solving. “The overall goal,” she said, “is to help young teens gain a better understanding of themselves and their relationship to others, the value of teamwork and diversity, and their role in their community.”

Though university faculty members help organize the program and are on call during the week to assist with instruction, the programs are entirely led and taught by five Pamplin College students selected for their experience with youth camps and who have undergone extensive training. Their work as program facilitators, Scott said, gives these students, most of whom are studying business leadership themselves, a good opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills.

The conference is free to participants, who live in dorms on campus, with a facilitator housed in each suite.

The adult program, known as the Institute for Leadership in Changing Times, has attracted nearly 50 police and other public safety professionals from government, campus, and corporate police departments, sheriff’s offices, and regional jails. They will attend a one-week workshop in two groups of two dozen each.

"The program does not teach policing skills," said Scott. "Our goal is to help participants develop leadership characteristics and communication and problem-analysis skills that will help them improve their decision making and interact more effectively with their co-workers and the public."

Pamplin and other faculty will lead classroom seminars and outdoor exercises on topics that include leadership, managing change, motivation, creative problem solving, and effective listening and communication.

Virginia Tech’s nationally ranked Pamplin College of Business offers undergraduate and graduate programs in accounting and information systems, business information technology, economics, finance, hospitality and tourism management, management, and marketing. The college emphasizes the development of ethical values and leadership, technology, and international business skills. A member of its marketing faculty directs the interdisciplinary Sloan Foundation Forest Industries Center at Virginia Tech. The college’s other centers focus on business leadership, electronic commerce, and organizational performance. The college is committed to serving business and society through the expertise of its faculty, alumni, and students. It is named in honor of Robert B. Pamplin (BAD ’33), the former CEO of Georgia-Pacific, and his son, businessman and philanthropist Robert B. Pamplin Jr. (BAD ’64).