Thursday, September 21, 2017

How summer camp teaches life lessons

In 1965 I was counselor for the 15-year-old senior boys at Camp Elektor in Pennsylvania. On the first weekend of the summer, during the first council fire ceremony, my boys acted like brats, spoiling the experience for younger children. So when the "juniors" were excused early, I said my senior boys would leave with them. After we got back to our tent, I told them this could be a good summer, or it could be the worst summer of their lives, and I'd make sure it was, unless they agreed from this moment on to be real "senior campers" -- true role models for younger boys and girls. After letting them think a moment in silence, I asked for a show of hands. Who would promise to be a real senior all summer? They felt ashamed, and all six hands went up.

                                                                                                                           Camp Bow-Isle
For the next eight weeks, my guys were a solid team of good examples. They made camp special for the younger kids. And how did our summer go? On the last day of camp, one of my seniors asked me if we could take a walk down the road alone. I said "sure" and off we went. Not far from camp, he told me he felt really sad. When I asked why, he said, "I'm pretty sure that no matter how long I live, I'll never have more fun than I had this summer." He really meant it! So I gave him a hug and promised, "Yes you will. Next summer will be even better, because of how you grew up this summer." I was right. His next summer as a CIT was fantastic, and today, as an attorney in New York, he's still a role model for those who need one.

No comments:

Post a Comment