Griffith represents West Alabama Prep’s SGA at Leadership Camp

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Seventeen-year-old Carson Griffith recently returned from a few summer days in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

However, his six-day trip wasn’t for vacation purposes, Griffith meant business.

As the only out-of-state student at this year’s South Florida Leadership Training Camp, Carson’s mind was focused on bringing some helpful information back to his student body.

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The practical vacation was all the brainchild of WAP’s SGA advisor Patrick George who is a former senior counselor for the camp.

“It’s difficult to expose children to that type of program here because a lot of them have lost funding. It’s highly unlikely that many students in Alabama have the opportunity to do something like this. Even if it’s only for a week, there is so much encouragement and insight students could bring back,” George said. “This program crunched every aspect of leadership he would face in an entire year of school into six days. They went over everything from activities and funding to deadlines and forming committees.”

Although Griffith is in his second year as SGA president, he said the camp was beneficial in teaching him better leadership skills and how to take all voiced opinions into consideration.

“I learned that I have to spread out jobs and trust my fellow students to get the job done,” he said. “I can’t do everything by myself and I need to let them get more involved.”

At the end of the six-day conference, the Heart of Dixie representative came back with a little more weight to his luggage. He took home one of the 24 plaques awarded to camp participants.

“The junior counselors and the senior counselors vote on who are the most outstanding council members from each council,” George said. “There are 12 councils and only two people out of each council receive the honor.”

“I was the only person from out of state to receive it,” Griffith smiled, “I was the only person there from out of state but it felt good to get it because I didn’t plan on getting anything.”

Even though Griffith didn’t plan on being recognized for his talents, George said he always knew the Thomaston resident had something special about him.

“I find Carson to be a high school student professional and he is always willing to do what it takes,” George said. “He just lacked the exposure to what leadership involved outside of WAP and West Alabama. With that being said and the proof of the award, it shows people that he truly deserves the position of president.”

In addition to having a successful year this fall, George plans on taking a group of students to Tennessee for a Southern Association of Student Councils conference.

“This is all part of the learning process and this will not only help them in school, but it will help them in life because they will have seen true leadership and they’ve practiced it,” George said. “I want to expose them to as much as I possibly can. I hope we can exceed or at least match what we did last year and gain more support from the student body and the community.”

Last year, under the leadership of Griffith and George, the WAP SGA was named second-best SGA in Alabama’s 1A division and second in the division’s scrapbook competition.

However, this year Griffith wants to do more to show off what he has learned during his week in Florida.

“I want to have a good homecoming dance and do different fundraisers this year. I really want to show the leadership skills I acquired at camp,” Griffith said. “I hope more students become active in the student body and I want to have fun with them, but I want to be productive too.”

As a senior, Griffith will leave his student body behind in May with hopes of attending Auburn University, however he doesn’t want to leave them empty handed.

“I want to pass down the opportunity for them to go camp and experience the same things I went through,” he said.

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