New class faces Beckwith

Published 11:55 pm Friday, September 20, 2013

Brandy Giger navigates the ropes course Tuesday at Camp Beckwith.

Brandy Giger navigates the ropes course Tuesday at Camp Beckwith.

After a day and a half at Camp Beckwith in Baldwin County, First National Bank and Trust Human Resources Director Brandy Giger has 11 new friends.

Giger and fellow members of the 2014 class of Leadership Atmore grew closer during orientation activities at the camp Tuesday and Wednesday.

While Giger really enjoyed the challenges presented in team-building exercises, it was the group’s transformation from strangers to friends that was fun to see.

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“It was great to learn about each member and their families and backgrounds,” she said. “It was a great experience overall.”

That is all part of the excursion, said Sheryl Vickery, executive director for the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce.

“They get to learn about themselves as well as the group,” she said. “It’s kind of an icebreaker to begin the nine months they’ll be together.”

The class graduates in May.

One of the challenges at Camp Beckwith is an infamous course of ropes suspended about 40 feet in the air. Each member of the group attempts the “ropes course” while others encourage, or cheer them on, said class member Ralph McCullers, PCI Environmental Department director. Class members wear safety harnesses and a Camp Beckwith employee holds the other end of the rope to keep them safe as they attempt the challenging obstacles.

“You were challenged as an individual to climb the ropes and move along,” McCullers said. “You’ve got the rest of the group on the ground encouraging and coaching you along.”

McCullers said he hopes the nine-month program will result in a better connection with local professionals.

“It goes back to the saying ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,’” he said. “The group will have a more profound impact now as individuals.”

McCullers said he’s looking forward to more outings with the group, as is Giger. She said she’s excited about the trip to Holman Correctional Facility because her father builds prisons and is currently working on renovations to the state correctional facility in Atmore.

“I’ve grown up around prisons, but I’ve never been to Holman,” Giger said.

Leadership Atmore is a nine-month program designed to identify and develop the leadership potential in the community. Participants complete an overnight retreat, seven full-day sessions, and advance to graduation. These sessions cover a variety of subjects, including “Leadership Skills” in October, “Healthcare” in December and “Law Enforcement” in February, among others.

Each class is also responsible for developing a community service project. Last year’s class developed the city’s official flag, and the Class of 2004 started “The Taste of the South.”

Members of the Leadership Atmore Class of 2014 are Lucille Ankum, Cheryl Boyington, Elliott Faircloth, Brandy Giger, Melanie Guy, Cecilia Harrison, Ralph McCullers, Justin Schuver, Greg Shehan, Chris Singleton, Charlotte Stanton and Amanda Warren.