New Mexico Tech Freshmen To Participate in Leadership Camp

July 13, 2022

First-ever Kelly Mine Leadership Camp will be held Aug. 7 to 11

Miners stand in front of Kelly Mine
Four miners pose outside the Kelly Mine in this undated photo. Lead and zinc were the main metals mined at the Kelly Mine, with lesser amounts of silver, copper and other metals also recovered. The mine ceased operations in the years following World War II. Photo credit: Socorro County Historical Society

SOCORRO, N.M. – One hundred years ago, miners dug for lead, zinc, silver, copper, and other precious metals in the Kelly Mine in rural Socorro County. With a nod to Socorro County and New Mexico Tech history, in early August modern-day Miners will extract equally precious resources at the inaugural Kelly Mine Leadership Camp. About 50 freshmen are expected to participate in the weeklong leadership camp aimed at providing future campus leaders with the tools and support services they need to be successful during their academic careers at Tech.

The first-ever Kelly Mine Leadership Camp runs from Sunday, Aug. 7, through Thursday, Aug. 11, on the Tech campus. Freshman participants will have the opportunity to move into on-campus housing a week ahead of other students and also get a head start on making connections with each other and as they acquaint themselves with the campus and the Socorro community. Because of the early start to their college careers, they are expected to assist other students on move-in weekend, Aug. 12 to 14. Fall semester classes begin Monday, Aug. 15.

According to Koreen Kerfoot, assistant director of residential education in the Residential Life Office, the leadership camp is intended to be more than just an extended orientation. It will offer a week jam-packed with non-academic workshops on “soft skills” that are key to college success, such as resilience, conflict resolution, working with other people. They will also engage in small-group activities, leadership development, and social events that provide a venue for campers to get to know each other. 

The curriculum provided to campers is based on the Office of Student Life’s purpose of creating opportunities for student success. The week’s session topics will include: building on strengths and values, a diversity day, a team-building day, leadership-building activities, and connections to campus resources, such as the tutoring and counseling centers.

“To learn about campus a little bit easier in a slower fashion,” she said. “To find the resources that are there and actually meet people.”

Making connections with both fellow freshmen and Tech staff is expected to be the most valuable part of the leadership camp, Kerfoot said. Once they’ve met someone working at a key campus resource center, students are much more likely to return when they need access to services, she said.

“They can make connections with the campus to help increase their sense of belonging and support their transition,” she said. “They can meet people, make friends, and build connections – and belonging.”

The week will feature introductions to venues for freshmen to get involved on campus, by joining clubs or sports organizations, student government, and other leadership opportunities, according to Kerfoot. Resident advisors (RAs) and admissions ambassadors will act as mentors and facilitate activities, such as strengths- and team-building exercises, small-group dialogues, and tours of Socorro and local businesses and organizations.

Kerfoot said the leadership camp is specifically designed to increase freshmen’s sense of belonging and is an investment in second-year retention. 

“It’s about doing fun things and challenging yourself in a supportive environment,” she said. “It’s about building a culture as an incoming class.” 

Space is still available for the Kelly Mine Leadership Camp. Applications are due by July 24 and are online at: Contact Koreen Kerfoot at for more information.