A blend of different viewpoints, backgrounds, and cultures all mix together to create a new community during the six weeks that is Culver Summer School & Camps. International students travel from far and wide, leaving their version of normal behind. Together, they collaborate to contribute to a new culture which Culver helps to foster: the Culture of Leadership.
Amalia Hurtado, a first-classman from Managua, Nicaragua, was named third week Regimental Commander. She brought a completely different viewpoint on leadership to the table, along with one of the loudest voices Culver has ever heard. She has annually left her comfort zone in Managua and created a new normal over the past three summers. As she has taken classes, built lifelong friendships, and lived with other campers from all over the world (Jordan, Colombia, Spain, and the United States), she has grown past international boundaries and developed a growth mindset towards the opportunities her future holds.
In order to get to Culver, Hurtado has to travel upwards of seven hours by car and plane. When looking at summer camps, she could have chosen one closer to home, but Hurtado said Culver stood out because of the opportunities in the classroom and leadership training.
Everywhere you go there is a type of leadership. You lead some people and you follow others.
As a first-classman, she understand that student leadership plays a large role. “Everywhere you go there is a type of leadership,” Hurtado said. “You lead some people and you follow others.”
And while she held the highest rank summer camp offers, Hurtado remains humble and credits her success to her Regimental Staff for the support they gave her. “One day when I’m old, I’ll tell my kids how they supported me,” she joked.
Teamwork is another lesson Hurtado has learned during her Culver experience. The Great Race during her second-class year taught her the importance of being a part of something larger than herself.
“When I saw the runner from Deck 4 coming across the finish line I couldn’t believe we were in second. I cried. That day I learned that I row crew for my Deck. What I did was for them and what they did was for me.”
It is that mindset that fosters leadership development. Campers learn followers are just as important as the leaders; and in the end, teamwork and collaboration are the keys to success.
Hurtado also cites the lessons she learned in her leadership course. The course teaches that cultural differences play a large role in leadership. The class stressed the importance of truly understanding someone when you communicate with them. It is something she has taken to heart.
As a native Spanish speaker, Hurtado’s English is nearly perfect. Again, she credits Culver with helping her stretch to learn how to express herself in a new way. “It is important to speak the same language of the people who you are leading and communicating to,” she explained.
Hurtado embodies the lessons and opportunities Culver has offered her and, in turn, has become a great role model for others. She jokes about how she left Nicaragua’s bubble to come to the Culver one, but adds Culver has pushed her to realize the opportunities the world offers.
The most important part of a Culver summer is just to take advantage of everything, she explained. “Don’t be afraid. When you’re not afraid, you actually do great things.”