October 23, 2015
Nine months out of twelve, a sleepaway summer camp is quiet. We don’t have the smiles and laughter and excitement that make our job so clearly worthwhile during the three months of summer. So what carries us through the rest of year? What reminds us why we do what we do when we don’t get the joy of being with campers?
We love our whole camp family: campers, counselors, and parents. And they love us, too. It’s the stories we hear from them all year long that remind us that we are doing important work, even in December. Last week I wrote about a love letter from a counselor (http://blog.campchampions.com/what-sustains-us-love-letters-from-counselors). This week, I will share a love letter from another important group in our camp family: a camp parent.
For a parent, it can be challenging to entrust your children to other people for two or three week summer camp terms. But that’s why we consider ourselves partners in the parenting process: here at camp, each camper is valued and loved like you want your child to be loved. And camp parents notice. The impact that a three week camp term can have is hard to describe, but letters like this one do so beautifully.
A Love Letter from a Camp Parent:
“Camp Champions really helped Cameron grow and mature in this important summer before starting junior high school. Watching the photos on the camp website during the three-week session, I saw my son start to develop his own persona and style. He wore this manky old gray hat the whole time at camp, and made everyone call him “Osmeridium” for the whole three weeks. In every photo he is wearing “The Hat,” and doing this goofy “Thinker” pose, holding his chin.
When we went to pick him up, as we walked around the camp, at least 10 counselors saw him and said, “Hey, Osmeridium! How’s it going!” They were so impressed by how smart (and weird) he is, and asked him to recite the periodic table of elements many times for their entertainment. Other boys his age would come up to him and call him Osmeridium, and HUG HIM. My mouth fell open. On the way out of camp, all the counselors lined the road and cheered for the departing campers, and as we drove up, in the van, with Cameron standing up with his head sticking out of the sunroof (still wearing “The Hat”), about 20 people started yelling: “OSMERIDIUM!!” and cheered and clapped for him. It seriously made me cry.
He may be extremely odd and nerdy, but he apparently made odd nerdiness a success at camp.
I actually thought Osmeridium was just a name that Cameron made up; I did not realize until a few days ago that Osmeridium is actually a thing. According to Wikipedia, it is “a natural alloy of osmium and iridium, with traces of other platinum group metals,” and is “very rare.”
Well, so is Cameron. He is one of a kind. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for seeing in my goofy son the potential and promise that we see in him.”
When we learn that camp is doing good things even beyond the summer – that it can prepare campers for new schools, build confidence and maturity, and empower kids to be themselves – that’s how we stay motivated. That’s why we love our jobs as much as we do, even when the summer months feel very far away. Thank you to all of our camp parents for sharing your children with us!
_Want more like this? See: http://blog.campchampions.com/blog/camper/what-i-love-about-camp _