By Chelsea Rankin
Patrick Henry College
Teen campers during the Crisis Management Exercise.
Strategic Intelligence camp wrapped up last week, kicking off PHC’s teen camps with ninety-six attendees and eight speakers from the intelligence community. Campers attended lectures on the intelligence field, took a field trip to DC’s Spy Museum and National Mall, and participated in a variety of activities, including a campus-wide capture the flag exercise and crisis management exercise.
Camp director Evan Johnson was delighted by the level of enthusiasm campers demonstrated toward the materials.
“The kids have surpassed any expectations I had,” Johnson said. “They are taking it seriously and engaging with the lectures and mission, but doing so cheerfully.”
He hopes campers learned about the importance of a team. He believes because campers are smart, they can tend to rely on what they know as individuals, rather than looking to others for support. His wish is that camp has shown them that they can’t do everything on their own.
Seventeen-year-old Brittany Hurlbut attended the camp from her home in Malaysia and has enjoyed getting to know American teenagers, along with learning about strategic intelligence.
She particularly enjoyed the crisis management exercise, a simulated government, as it has helped teach her how to handle a real world crisis.
“I’ve learned just how big of a role strategic intelligence plays,” Hurlbut said. “So much of it happens behind the scenes. Spies are often glamorized, but it’s hard work and not that glamorous.”
Camp counselor Kyler Snyder believes in the deep importance of young people studying strategic intelligence, as it teaches skills that are relevant in all areas of life.
“Strategic Intelligence is an important subject to learn because it focuses on practical linear thinking, as opposed to society’s focus on dreaming big,” Snyder said. “It helps everyone in everyday life.”