CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., July 23, 2014 – Aubrey Darnell of Miamisburg, Ohio, is about four weeks out from traveling to Cape Girardeau for the start of her freshman year at Southeast Missouri State University, but her experience at Camp Redhawk last week has already jumpstarted her college career.
“My favorite part of camp was going up inside the dome and signing my name,” Darnell said, referencing the personal tour the group of new freshmen received of the Academic Hall dome. “I really enjoyed the tour of the River Campus and the sports locker rooms too. I feel like all these things are things that not only other incoming freshman, but all other Southeast students may never get to experience or do. This kind of connected us and gave us all a little school spirit and pride. Our names being on the inside of the dome everybody in Cape sees and having stepped foot in those locker rooms made it really start to feel like our school.”
Darnell, a 2014 graduate of Miamisburg High School, was one of nearly 200 students who attended Camp Redhawk this summer, a transitional leadership camp designed for new students preparing to enter their first semester at Southeast.
Dr. Bruce Skinner, assistant vice president for student success and auxiliary services, said the four Camp Redhawk sessions, offered for the first time this summer, were a resounding success.
Data collected from Camp Redhawk satisfaction surveys completed by students at the end of each session indicates the program was very well received, Skinner said.
Camp Redhawk introduced new students to campus life and traditions, immersed them in school spirit and introduced them to other new students who will join Southeast when the fall semester begins in August.
Participants became familiar with the campus and its resources via tours, a scavenger hunt and presentations by Southeast officials. Students were housed in Southeast’s residence halls and made new friends who are now continuing to connect on social media, said Dr. Kendra Skinner, director of Residence Life.
Dr. Kendra Skinner said new students got to tour the dome in Academic Hall, got a behind-the-scenes look on the stage in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall at the River Campus and participated in student leadership development activities.
“The highlight for many students was the new relationships they formed with other Southeast students and testing out their trust in one another on the University’s high ropes course,” said Dr. Bruce Skinner.
Having completed Camp Redhawk, Darnell says she feels better prepared for what’s in store for her when she arrives at Southeast next month.
“I feel a little more prepared for this upcoming semester. I got to live in a suite style residence hall similar to the one I’ll be in this year and got a feel for how much space I had and how it would be,” she said. “I also did a lot of walking and feel I will definitely be making good use of the shuttles, since I know where more things are around campus and especially how far they are.”
Darnell said it was comforting and helpful to meet one of her roommates before the school year actually gets under way.
“I made new friends during camp, including one of my future suite-mates,” she said. “We got to talk face-to-face about our room and got to know each other some, which takes a little fear and mystery out of move-in day. The opportunity to meet a roommate early alone makes Camp Redhawk a worthwhile time.”
She says she highly recommends Camp Redhawk for any incoming students considering the opportunity next summer.
“I feel that I came out with some new friends and interesting experiences I would never have made sitting at home and wondering how camp would be. My advice to any students considering Camp Redhawk would be to go for it. Step out of your comfort zone and take the opportunity. You’ll come out a more seasoned Southeast student before even attending, and you might just have a good time.”