The Missouri Association of Student Councils hosted its 16th annual free carnival on a sun and fun-filled day at William Woods University on Tuesday with more than 300 children in attendance.
The carnival is a part of the annual MASC leadership camp hosted at WWU and is fully organized and run by attendees of the camp.
With more than 600 campers ranging from middle school to high school students, they learn how to plan, publicize and delineate the responsibilities that go into running an event. "Junior counselors" — 52 of the campers — assume leadership roles to help keep things running smoothly.
First-year junior counselor Callaway Chapman, of Chillicothe High School, is now in her fourth year at the camp and enjoys seeing the impact the carnival has on the children who attend.
"It's fun to see how (the carnival) affects the kids and shows how the little things can have such an impact on someone's day," Chapman said.
First-year campers Keeley Riggs, from Lebanon, and Ethan Lowe, from St. Joseph, implemented the lessons they learned from the camp into their booth.
"One thing I learned about leadership is how important it is to be empathetic," Lowe explained.
Riggs said she also learned the importance of planning ahead. "If you don't, everything will be a jumbled mess."
Student leaders ran 20 booths which ranged from facepainting and snow cones to shooting a basketball. The carnival also featured a fundraising opportunity with Special Olympics Missouri. According to MASC spokesperson Terri Johnson, participants could purchase a rubber duck and have it compete in a large race in WWU's pond with the help of the Fulton Fire Department. All of the proceeds benefit Special Olympics Missouri.
The carnival has been at WWU for the past 15 years, and MASC has been around since 1960.
Lebanon High School Student Council advisor Jina Richardson has been a part of the MASC for 24 years and has been coming to the camp for the past 12 years.
She explained the camp provides students with "the most significant learning experience of (their) life."