Hampden-Sydney College holds first annual Shelton Challenge

Published 2:26 pm Tuesday, July 28, 2015

On June 28, HSC held its first Shelton Leadership Challenge. Thirty-two young men took part in a five-day summer, residential experience where they explored the cornerstones of values-based leadership – honesty, integrity, compassion, diversity, and social responsibility – through problem-solving and team-building activities, ropes courses, and service projects.

This program began at North Carolina State University, and in August of 2014, Hampden-Sydney, in cooperation with the Wilson Center for Leadership in the Public Interest, signed an agreement to participate exclusively with male attendants.  

To be considered, applicants had to be a rising junior or senior in high school, or a rising college freshman, with a GPA of a 3.0 or higher. The majority of participants were high school students, but eight were incoming freshmen for the HSC class of 2019.

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Assistant Professor of Government & Foreign Affairs Guy Burnett, and Assistant Dean of Admissions Conner Rund ‘13 led parts of the experience while three current students underwent a two-day intensive training seminar to become counselor mentor trainers. Briggs Burton ‘16, Taylor Anctil ‘16, and Sam Murphy ‘18 all had volunteered as counselors, and each was assigned a team of participants. Anctil was responsible for mentoring and leading 11 rising, high school juniors. He commented that, “Within my team, I saw incredible growth from the first day to the last.”

The camp was structured so that participants had to work together throughout physically, emotionally, and mentally demanding tasks.

Anctil went on to say that, “Hampden-Sydney focuses on forming good men and good citizens. The Shelton Challenge is a means to introduce participants to that, and the program’s activities show those concepts in effect. I worked to emphasize, to my group, that compassion is key and one’s social responsibility and honesty relates to that.”

At the end of the experience, participants were honored at an awards ceremony.