Black Canyon Rotary Holds One Day Leadership Camp


Kathlyne Gaber

Students from Montrose and Olathe high schools sit in on a breakout session for Effective Leadership lead by Mark Plantz on Saturday, August 14, 2021.

Kate Donohoe, News Reporter

Montrose Black Canyon Rotary held their first ever one-day leadership camp on Saturday, August 14 at Riverbottom Park. This was the first installment of an annual event aimed at instilling and encouraging leadership skills in local high school students.


The event began at 9:00 Saturday morning with Rotary International keynote speaker Alia Ali on how individual leaders can make a difference in their respective environments. From there, students from a number of clubs, including Student Counsel, ASTRA, and Interact, gathered in groups to attend breakout sessions led by professionals within the community.


 Students were able to attend two breakout sessions, each an hour long, including Atomic Habits led by Martin Lutz of In Motion Therapy, Communication Games led by Kailey Rhoten of the Office of Business and Tourism, Community Needs led by Ross Valdez of City of Montrose Engagement, Event/Club Publicity led by Julie Otto of Hope West, Effective Leadership led by Mark Plantz, CPA of Daley, Wendland & Co, Team Development led by Melissa Mckelvey of an independent business and PR consultant, What Would You Do led by Amanda Waltrip from the Montrose Workforce Center and Joey Montoya Boese from PEER Kindness, and Strategic Planning led by Commander Matt Smith of the Montrose Police Department.


“I attended the event planning and the team building seminars. The event planning session was helpful because Julie has a lot of helpful experience that we got to ask about, but also she explained how she had found herself in that career,” senior Grace Cross said. “The team building session was informative because we not only got to bond with our group members, we also learned ways to cultivate an effective work environment.”


Rotary plans on holding this event in following years as well in order to reach a larger demographic of students. 


“Black Canyon Rotary feels that this is going to grow exponentially, and our goal someday is to get every type of young leader there so that they can really push themselves to be better. Ultimately, we would love to see the captains of every sports team attend, the officers of every club or organization, [and] students that are going to want to move on and become leaders at the college level,” Kathlyne Gaber, Work-Based Learning Coordinator and community liaison for Montrose High School, said. 


“The camp helped me build leadership skills by making me challenge what I already knew and think about new things. [It] was very beneficial because I can apply what I learned directly to StuCo,” Sophomore Rachel Robuck said.