August 6, 2016
Once again, a glance into my inbox provides me with a blog. I can see how this might seem lazy, but I have been deeply moved by some of the emails we have recently received. When a young woman credits camp with getting an opportunity to attend West Point as a scholarship athlete, that seems worth sharing. Also, I want you to now that this young woman (Brooke Ma’am) is a finer human than she is a lacrosse player.
Here is her email! I hope you appreciate how much this means to Susie Ma’am and myself.
[Start email] Dear Steve Sir and Susie Ma’am,
I wanted to follow up with you and attempt to express the gratitude I feel for my years at camp.
This year at camp, I had a lot of fun, which wasn’t unexpected at all. But I also found myself making many more split-second decisions in a small time frame than I ever had before and assuming an amount of responsibility for others I never thought I would find myself comfortable with. More than previous years, I could see myself making an impact on the lives of others through my decisions. When my friends and I would sing while serving breakfast, or when I’d help my adopted cabin with inspection, seeing the smiles on the younger girls’ and the counselors’ faces was exactly the feeling you described during Baskin talks. How can you feel like you don’t can’t make a difference when your actions have directly led to someone else’s happiness?
I’m learning that my words actions have the potential to positively impact six year old Rigabamboos, their counselor who I formed an unlikely (in any other environment, but not at camp) friendship with, or maybe the whole world. And that having an impact on others is the thing that has the biggest impact on me. I think I can remember every single person that’s gone out of their way to make me smile, and camp is now teaching me to be that person.
Since around sixth grade, my dreams for college have been pretty simple: play lacrosse at a school I love, and work at camp in the summer. This year, my hard work has paid off and I’ve gained the interest of a few colleges I’d dreamed of playing at. Yesterday, I took my second visit to the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. They offered me a spot on their team and admission to what I think is one of the most amazing places in the world. The only thing that made me hesitate to commit right away is that I wouldn’t be able to fulfill my dream to work at camp.
But I’m thinking of the things that I love most about camp: the responsibility I was thrown into, the mentors I’ve been blessed with, and the real, tangible impact I believe I have when I’m there. The ability to, as Gandhi said, “lose myself in the service of others,” a feeling I’ve only felt at camp. Camp has taught me that since I can influence someone enough to make them smile, I am capable of doing whatever I set my mind to. I am an optimist, my problems are temporary, I have the ability to change what must be changed. These are the tools I will need should I go to West Point and become a servant of our country.
I haven’t accepted the offer yet; this is definitely one of those decisions that I need to think through. However, I think that I will, and frankly I think that so much of that is due to what I’ve learned at camp. From the grit that it took to improve at lacrosse enough to even get noticed to the 4R’s that are a huge part of daily life in the military, the skills I’ve acquired have shaped me into someone who loves service and simply making a difference.
So thank you!! More than my coaches and my teammates, camp has prepared me to not only receive this opportunity but to use it to help me grow and live a life of purpose and joy. Thank you for an amazing summer, and I am so excited for SCAT year and learning even more about myself. Camp will always be the place I love the best.
Brooke [End email]
PS The photo does not include our author, but I love the feel of this picture.