NCBI trains Missoula students at summer camp


NCBI trains Missoula students at summer camp 8-8-14

BUTTE, Mont. - National Coalition Building Institute staff were getting things ready at Camp Watanopa near Georgetown Lake for their 7th annual high school Train-the-Trainer event.

The event lasts all weekend and teaches students about how to lead antibullying, violence prevention and prejudice-reduction workshops.

Two buses pulled into Camp Watanopa to drop off Missoula County Public School students.

Big Sky High School student Mckayla Hansen was the first one off.

"This is my second year," she said.

But this isn't your average summer camp, it's the National Coalition Building Institute's annual Train-the-Trainer event. Students participate in workshops, do skits and share stories about their experiences.

"It's a lot of just getting to know people, trying to create a safe environment for everyone," said Hansen.

Ekoo Beck trains students to teach other students about social issues. She said students tend to listen more to people their own age.

"It creates these amazing people who go on to do great things both within the community and thoughout the U.S.," said Beck.

Big Sky teachers said they have seen the event change the way students view themselves and others.

"This gives them confidence to step out," said Big Sky teacher Amy Miller. "And actually try out the new role as a leader, but more than anything I think what I see it do the most for students is have compassion for each other."

"Seeing the kids change and look for conflict resolution and trying to avoid certain situations has been essential; it's just been really really eye-opening," said Big Sky teacher Mike Marcinkowski.

It's not all about the workshops -- students have free time to play on the campground, have campfires or swim.

Hansen said she leaves camp with a whole new level of confidence.

"Going to something, anything I do with NCBI," said Hansen, "I feel like I walk away with a lot of empowerment and I feel like that really helps me with my leadership skills."

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