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College helps develop future leaders at Camp Neidig

On Saturday, June 16, 2012, approximately 150 students from 80 high schools will be gathered in a large meeting room–not for a graduation celebration or a summer party–but to listen to Penn State Berks Chancellor R. Keith Hillkirk talk to them about leadership. He will address the students at 1 p.m.

Hillkirk is one of several Penn State Berks staff members and alumni who volunteer each year at Camp Neidig, a leadership camp for high school juniors.

Founded in 1950 by Joseph S. Neidig, governing officer of Rotary District 2654, as a camp to further the leadership abilities of young boys, it was renamed Camp Neidig in 1961 in honor of its founder.

Today, Rotary District 7430, which formed after District 264 split in 1961, continues to sponsor Camp Neidig for students who live in its service area (southeastern Pennsylvania). Its mission is to bring together high school students entering their senior year who have exhibited leadership abilities in scholastic and community activities. Campers participate in a four-day weekend of fun, friendship, and team-building activities at Camp Manatawny in Boyertown.

Penn State Berks alumnus and Camp Neidig Director Shawn Hinkle ’01 has worked at the camp for seventeen years and was largely responsible for organizing the Penn State Berks volunteers.

“Preparing for the camp is practically a year-long process and it involves preparing the schedule, selecting the staff, and recruiting guest speakers such as Dr. Hillkirk,” explains Hinkle. “Having a great staff is what makes the camp successful; they are the ones working closely with the campers all weekend. Maintaining my ties with the Berks campus as an alumnus has allowed me to tap into a pool of great people who work with students all the time.”

This year, that group includes several guest speakers with ties to the college, including Josh Brandwene ’91, Penn State’s first women’s hockey coach; Tracy Hoffmann, Chair of the Penn State Berks Advisory Board and principal of Niemczyk Hoffmann group; and David Surratt, formerly a member of the college’s Residence Life staff.

In addition, the following Penn State students and alumni will work at the camp: Jake Criscuolo, incoming first-year student; Jason Glessner ’96, Assistant District Attorney for Berks County; Sue Hite ’86, ’90, Nurse Practitioner/Research Coordinator, Reading Cardiologists; Stephen Hite, student at Penn State University Park and Teaching Assistant in the Penn State Forensic Science degree program; Charlie Jones ’71, City of Reading Public Works Director; and Amanda Weaver, Penn State Berks student.

Learn more about Camp Neidig »

Contact Shawn Hinkle at 610-921-1914 or via e-mail at shinkle@psualum.com.

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