ASAP develops leadership program for high school students

Derrick Keating assists a student on the climbing wall.

The Adams State University Adventure Program (ASAP) is breaking new ground this spring as it kicks-off a Leadership Development Program for Alamosa High School (AHS) juniors and seniors. Derrick Keating, ASAP apprentice, designed the multifaceted program with the assistance of Brian Puccerella, coordinator for Adventure Leadership and Programs; Curt Howell, associate director of Campus Recreation and Wellness, Sarah Ramirez, Adams State alumna ’04 and AHS teacher and Student Council sponsor; and Tyler Zimmerman, AHS sophomore and Student Council member.

Keating contacted AHS Principal Andy Lavier, an Adams State alumnus, who consulted with Ramirez. "We both recognized it as a tremendous opportunity for our students," Ramirez said. "Here was a college student who wanted to provide our students with the chance to learn how to rock climb and hone their leadership skills. It was a win-win." She helped Keating spread the word to the AHS student body.

The Leadership Development Program is a six-week program designed with positive outcomes for the students involved, as well as Adams State. Alamosa High School students participating in the Leadership Development program learn portions of the curriculum presented to college students within the Adventure Leadership Programming minor including fundamentals of rock climbing, the process of team development, and how to successfully facilitate group discussions.

Keating, who will graduate in May, needed to meet the final requirements for his course, fifty hours of professional experience related to his areas of study. Creating a program through the Adventure Program was an obvious choice. "It was through the Adventure Program where I have seen leaps and bounds of leadership development for myself and my peers."

Meeting with Keating, Ramirez and Zimmerman were impressed with the presentation and ideas put forth. "We could tell Derrick would be a great fit to work with our students," Ramirez added.

According to Keating, the ultimate goal is to increase interest levels of attending Adams State, as well as leadership competencies, "which will be applicable to any major chosen by the students."

The eight AHS students, who volunteered to be in the program, meet three hours a week. "I have learned new climbing methods and have had the opportunity to interact and learn from new people, which has been amazing," Zimmerman said.

Keating said he appreciated the support from Alamosa High School and the Adams State Adventure Program. "I think this program can lay the groundwork for a more comprehensive program for Alamosa High School students in the years to come."