Sep 06, 2022

New students at College of the Ozarks participate in week-long orientation

Seniors Landen Hildebrand and Alexa Begemann welcome new freshmen to campus on August 12.
Seniors Landen Hildebrand and Alexa Begemann welcome new freshmen to campus on August 12.

POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — New students at College of the Ozarks experienced a week-long orientation to launch the fall, Aug. 12-19. The event, called Character Camp, featured times of community service.

Character Camp provides an intensive orientation to the College and outlines what is expected of students. The program is also designed to develop character in students.

During the week, 390 incoming students were assigned to one of 36 groups called “families.” Each family was led by two upperclassmen 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.

“Being involved in Character Camp from both sides, as a student and a mom, has been two of my favorite experiences at C of O,” said junior Esther Rea. “My time as a ‘mom’ impacted my growth as a leader. I am so thankful for the opportunity provided through Character Camp to invest in new students and their initial experience on campus.

During Character Camp, students participated in community service projects at the following locations: Booniebrook, Kids Across America, The Track, Legacy Academy, Branson City and Recreations, to name a few.

“The Character Camp program introduces incoming freshman to more than College of the Ozarks through the community service projects,” said senior Jake Mennen. “Service projects are a great way to build community. They help you get to know the people you work with in a way that ordinary day-to-day life doesn’t provide.”

Character Camp also included activities such as special speakers, time at Silver Dollar City, chapel services, “family” time, advisor time, and a challenge course where students learned the value of teamwork.

Each incoming student wrote a “Reflections on 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.

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 another community service project.

Vowing to honor

On the last night of Character Camp, all the families gathered for a special dinner called the Honor Induction Etiquette Banquet.

“The Honor Banquet is an amazing opportunity for students to hear from past students who love their alma mater,” said Ryan Knight, dean of students.” All students are asked to write an essay on Christ-like Character, and three students are recognized for their exemplary work. This culminating activity puts the week of Character Camp in perspective; we are doing it all to honor Christ!”

The banquet concludes the Character Camp week and is a way to celebrate the start of the school year.

“The banquet is an excellent 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.”