Sep 15 2018
Linking Students to High School Success
“...everyone else was trying to find their way so I kind of lost my support system with my friends. And I didn't have many friends to begin with…” Danielle, Desert Vista High School
This experience isn’t uncommon among freshmen transitioning into high school, many find themselves clueless or alone for the first couple weeks. Schools have tried to implement activities or icebreakers on the first day of freshman year, but many kids still find it hard to adjust and assimilate into the high school experience.
Link Crew is a transition program that trains upperclassmen to mentor incoming freshmen and make their first year in high school as comfortable as possible. Link Crew mentors become positive role models for the freshmen they lead and learn impactful leadership skills throughout the process. The Link Crew program is modeled to be a year-long program featuring orientations, tutoring dates, and homecoming events. Boomerangproject.com states that since its inception over 25 years ago, “Link Crew schools report having greater student connection, increased extracurricular participation, fewer discipline issues, and improved academic performance.”
At Campo Verde High School in Gilbert, AZ, Link Crew has become a staple on campus. With just under 100 kids in its ranks, this club has inspired many students to lead through kindness and love while positively influencing the incoming freshmen.
My personal experience within its ranks began in my junior year when my mother became the club’s new advisor. During that school year, I was involved in the initial freshmen orientation, when Campo Verde bussed in freshmen the day before school started and started community building activities within groups of about 10 freshmen and 2 leaders. There were also many study sessions surrounding finals and midterms that helped freshmen get ready for their first round of high school exams. Movie nights brought food trucks onto campus for large bonding activities, enjoying recently released movies while leaders brought birthday gifts on campus for each individual freshmen, making sure each student felt cared for. That year, I also took part in a conference for the link crew clubs across the state, it was there that I met some students just like me, dedicated to creating the best experiences possible for our freshmen. I also ended up randomly sitting next to another link crew leader that I had met at the conference the first day of my freshmen year in college! Crazy how the world works, when I really needed a friend in the craziness of my first day, I had a connection to Link Crew and the friendliness and love it promotes.
My senior year, I became an “ambassador” for the club, planning the events I had attended as a junior. Being in link crew offered me the opportunity to travel to universal studios and attend a conference completely centered around human kindness. Without link crew in my life, I would’ve never had the opportunity to gain such amazing friendships that I’ve held with me.
Now, Campo Verde’s Link Crew has gone through two generations of leaders since my class graduated. They are constantly planning fun and engaging events that assist freshmen in their transition into high school. They now have a program where each student is assigned a week to do an activity or presentation on something they’re passionate about to share what really makes them unique. These bonding sessions allow for friendships to grow and confidence to soar, the upperclassmen involved in the club now are sharing aspects of their lives in order to grow stronger as a family.
Link Crew has now become a member of the SMC family, registering as the first club from Campo Verde. We are so excited to have them aboard our mission to support student engagement to all high schools in Arizona! To find them on social media search Facebook “Campo Verde Link Crew” or Twitter “@CampoLinkCrew”!