January 14, 2019
New students at College of the Ozarks participate in weeklong orientation, Character CampIncoming students to College of the Ozarks strategically place themselves on the wooden board in order to successfully balance each “family” member during the weeklong orientation, Character Camp.
During the challenge course, College of the Ozark students demonstrate teamwork as they help one another up a wall, relying only on their strength and communication abilities.
POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — New students at College of the Ozarks experienced a week-long orientation to launch the spring semester last week, Jan. 7-13. The event, called Character Camp, featured times of service and fellowship.
Character Camp provides an intensive orientation to the College and clearly outlines what is expected of students. The program is also designed to develop character in students.
During the week, 172 incoming students were assigned to one of 16 groups, called “families.” Each family was led by two upperclassman who model the character expected of a C of O student. These “moms and pops” served as leaders and mentors to the “kids” in their families throughout the week.
“You get a chance to form a relationship with people instead of starting off this journey on your own,” said Emily Knoppe, freshman education major. “Character Camp gives you a family, so your first few weeks aren’t so hard.”
Character Camp also includes participation in a challenge course, presentations by administrators and alumni, chapel services, and “family” time.
Each incoming student wrote a “Reflections of Christ-like Character” essay. The essay is a requirement for students and is evaluated by various members of the College. Essays are judged on relevance, clarity, depth, and accuracy.
“I have loved working character camp,” said Johanna Ennis, junior early childhood elementary education major. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for our incoming freshman and even our ‘moms’ and ‘pops’. We as parents have already walked through character camp and then to be in that leadership role on the other side and work with the administration of the school is really eye opening. This week has allowed us to see the administrators’ hearts and how much they truly care about us as students.”
Throughout this coming semester, the “families” will reunite three different times to discuss progress, and the “moms and pops” will encourage the incoming students by walking alongside of them in this new chapter of life. One of these “family” reunions will involve a community service project.
Vowing to honor
On the last day of Character Camp, all the families gather for a special meal called the Honors Induction Etiquette Banquet.
“The banquet provides an opportunity for the College to corporately recognize those students who wrote exceptional essays on ‘Reflections of Christ-like Character,’” said Nick Sharp, dean of students. “The banquet caps off the College’s eight-day orientation program with a keynote presentation, the signing of the Honor Code, and a reading of one of the winning essays.”
The banquet concludes the Character Camp week and is a way to celebrate the start of the semester.
“It is also an opportunity for the ‘families’ to enjoy a culminating event that honors them and welcomes them to the College,” said Dr. Sue Head, vice president for cultural affairs and dean of character education.
A very special part of the evening is the signing of the honor code, which reads as follows: “I agree to be an honest, trustworthy, caring, and responsible citizen. I will uphold these values in others and myself.”
About College of the Ozarks
College of the Ozarks is a private, Christian, liberal arts college, located in Point Lookout, Missouri, on a 1,000-acre campus. Christian values, hard work, and financial responsibility comprise the fundamental building blocks of the “Hard Work U.” experience. The College earns numerous accolades yearly, including No. 1 Most Innovative School in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report for 2019 and No. 1 Best Bang for the Buck by Washington Monthly. To achieve its vision, the College pursues academic, vocational, Christian, patriotic, and cultural goals. These goals are mirrored in School of the Ozarks, a laboratory school that completes the K-college model.
The Keeter Center — the College’s award winning lodge, restaurant, and conference facility — was ranked a Top Small Hotel in the U.S. by TripAdvisor for 2018. It features historic lodging, fine dining, and meeting rooms. With more than 350 student workers, it is the largest workstation on campus. Follow College of the Ozarks at www.facebook.com/collegeoftheozarks or on Twitter @CofOHardWorkU.
01.14.19 – Juliet Thompson