July 16, 2021
I have mentioned the Senior Camper program. As a reminder, it is our High School Leadership program and is one of the aspects of Camp Champions that we are best known for. Over the past 2 decades, Susie Ma’am and I have given around 20 talks at camp conferences, including the National conference and talks at two international conferences, about the program.
At its core is the belief that young people deeply want to contribute to their community. They also long to hone their leadership skills.
Senior Campers have more responsibilities, more privileges and a completely different schedule. They practice cabin leading and they perform chores. We want to help prepare them to be extraordinary adults. We believe that excellent humans are sometimes leaders and sometimes servants. We occasionally do work that goes unnoticed and not thanked. Certainly parenting is like that. Our goal is to help them see the benefits of a servant’s heart and leader’s mind.
We meet with them in our home twice each week. In these talks, we go over everything from taking personal responsibility, having confident posture, controlling social media usage, being an active listener (especially to those you disagree with) and ways to cultivate optimism/gratitude.
They are also one of the reasons I maintain optimism about our future. At a time when news articles and talk shows deride the “new generation”, we see energetic and passionate teens who want to make a difference.
One of our traditions is to re-introduce the newest members of the Senior Campers (those just finishing 9th grade) on the first Torchlight after their initiation retreat. That would have been last week, but that evening brought heavy rain and we needed to postpone. We decided to do the introduction last night before the Beach Party Dance (hence the costumes).
The assembled group above represents 228 summers of camp. They have been upbeat, positive and caring. I could not be more proud of these young women and men!