July 25, 2021
“Our passion is to help every camper grow into the Champion he or she is intended to be.” —Camp Champions’ Mission Statement
When I share our mission statement with parents, some ask me what we mean by a “Champion”. Some picture a camper draped in medals or one that wins a competition. We mean something different.
To us a Champion is someone that understands that his/her life is a great gift: a singular and spectacular adventure meant uniquely for him or her. As such, a Champion knows that he or she must live that life to the fullest extent possible.
A Champion lives a life of passion. By this, we do not mean wild mood swings, but instead the passion of purpose. Each Champion’s purpose is different, so each is passionate about something different. But they share an excitement about life. We try to elicit this from our campers by helping them understand that they are unique and that they are capable. By building their self-confidence and providing opportunities to try different skills and activities, we increase the chance that they will eventually find their unique path.
Champions understand that they are part of something bigger than themselves: their community and the world at large. We believe that Champions want to give back to the world. We place an emphasis on “reaching out” through different service opportunities, especially for older campers and counselors.
Being a Champion is not always easy. Much of our society encourages conformity (our schools are often particularly bad about this). Children spend a huge amount of effort and emotional energy assuring that they “fit in”. This is a safe approach, but it is not the best approach. We hope that our campers will go back to their schools and be able to resist some of the destructive behaviors that often characterize childhood (e.g., bullying and inappropriate language at a young age, promiscuousness and drug/alcohol use in the teen years). We want them to be able to say, “I am better than that.”
Obviously, this is a very ambitious goal, but we believe it is one that we, as your partners, can achieve. We strive to make camp part of this process.
Every year, I hear dozens of campers tell me personally that they “love who they are at camp” because “I can be who I really am and that is OK.” I suspect that they would say the same thing about your home. We want to export this feeling away from camp and home into the school and the rest of the world.
“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost
Robert Frost was a Champion.