Leadership, Teamwork Skills Emphasized at IWU Esports Camp
July 30, 2021
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Equipped with a set of directions and a walkie-talkie, 11-year-old
Mack Lee guided fellow esports campers through the assembly of a new, high-tech gaming
chair. The challenge: Lee’s teammates were in a different room with the unassembled
chair pieces and a walkie-talkie of their own.
In an exercise focused on communication and teamwork, the campers collaborated to
build the chair by following Lee’s step-by-step instructions, honing skills that Illinois
Wesleyan Youth Esports and Leadership Camp organizers say are important in-game, and
“They learn how to communicate, how to be a leader, and how to really work together,”
said Illinois Wesleyan League of Legends Head Coach Tj Bjorklund. “They participate
in activities that are outside of the game that they can apply in-game, but also to
life in general.”
During one of two sold-out week-long sessions this summer, the first-ever Youth Esports
and Leadership Camp provided kids ages 10 to 14 a chance to play popular games including
Fortnite, Rocket League and Among Us, along with other games, in Illinois Wesleyan’s
state-of-the-art esports facility under the guidance of IWU coaches and players. Campers also spent time outdoors playing
collaborative games including dodgeball, kickball and capture the flag, and they learned
techniques to be a healthy gamer through proper ergonomics, nutrition, healthy breaks
and game engagement.
Lee, who successfully led his teammates to completion of the gaming chair, said gaming
requires a comparable level of teamwork and cooperation. “Especially online when you’re
playing together,” he said. “If you don’t work together, you could end up with a ‘game
over’ screen and your head in your hands. It’s extremely important, and I’m glad they’re
teaching us about these lessons in fun and creative ways.”
Twelve-year-old Lincoln Lannin said along with gaming on a collegiate esports setup,
he enjoyed making new friends and exploring Illinois Wesleyan’s campus, including
the quad and dining hall.
“It’s been fun because we can look around at the campus,” said Lannin. “It’s really
cool because it’s all pretty and we can kind of think ‘well, maybe I want to go here
when I go to college or if I want to go to college.’”
“And, the food is really yummy,” he added.
Bjorklund said the Youth Esports and Leadership Camp provides IWU Esports with an
important opportunity to connect with the local community.
“This camp has been very successful in terms of the parent feedback that we’ve gotten
and just the general demeanor of the kids,” Bjorklund said, noting that it is rewarding
to watch the campers develop throughout the week.
“Outside of just getting to play fun games, we hope the kids learned new skills and
felt like it was a valuable experience.”