Training Tomorrow's Leaders
"Excell" stands for Excellence in English Language and Leadership. The camp trains youth leaders 18 to 24 years of age through a 10-day program of intensive, team-development activities including leadership and language classes, sports, singing, public speaking, writing, and outings. Excell ends with an on-site community service day to allow campers to demonstrate what they have learned.
Dr. Bert Whetstone and Deborah Orsini created the Excell Foundation in 2007 with the goal of training young leaders in the developing world to carry out service programs in their home communities. Dr. Whetstone is a school psychologist, musician, and coach who designed the music and sports curricula at Camp Excell. Ms. Orsini is an international development consultant with experience in over 100 developing countries. She designed the active English and leadership curricula. They have organized thirteen ten-day residential camps in Madagascar, Morocco, and Macedonia, with shorter Excell workshops in India, Jordan, Oman, and China. The Excell Foundation is a registered 501c3 corporation.
Excell Foundation depends on active collaboration with local organizations who handle recruitment and logistics for the camp. We are deeply grateful for our longterm partners, the Excell Association in Madagascar and the Moroccan Center for Civic Education in Morocco (see Volunteers page)
Camp Excell functions on four core values: integrity, community, respect, and perseverance.
Integrity: We provide opportunities for participants to demonstrate strong character, based on personal integrity and an ability to see the big picture. We teach participants to assume leadership roles within their teams. Good leaders inspire trust among their followers. Trust comes from integrity: the simultaneous actions of adhering to values, and following through on intentions.
Community: We ask participants to think about their community at Camp Excell, and by extension, at home, school, and work. With leadership styles and skills in mind, we ask each camper to answer the question, “What can I do to make a positive impact on those with whom I live and work?” During camp, we assess needs in the community and create community service projects to model the process. We encourage participants to think about world community issues such as health and the environment. Each “camper” leaves with an Action Plan to carry out community service projects, and a “personal environmental plan” to honor their homeland and to guard their future.
Respect: We believe that young people learn and perform best when they live in an environment of mutual respect. We believe respect comes from knowing and honoring each individual’s contributions, and from celebrating differences in age, gender, ethnicity, ability, geography, belief systems, and culture. We pay special attention to drawing Excell leaders from diverse backgrounds for the purpose of fostering communication, teamwork, and lifelong friendships across geographic, ethnic, and family groups.
Perseverance: Reaching individual and group objectives requires perseverance. We promote a strong work ethic among participants. We offer a full-day, not-for-the-faint-of-heart immersion in multiple training activities, all conducted in English. We recognize team and leader achievement through frequent support and feedback.
The validity of Camp Excell is that it makes a positive impact on young leaders’ behavior when they return to their homes, neighborhoods, schools, and jobs. We want each participant to leave Camp Excell with a fresh perspective on strategies for leadership, teamwork development, and community service, and on fun ways to gather people together to work, play, sing, read, write, and help others.
Above all, we want each participant to put Excell values—integrity, community, respect and perseverance—into action in their lives and communities.