Written by a 7th Grade Camper

Dear Camp Champions,

Earlier today, you asked the other nominees and me two questions: “What is a Champion and what does camp mean to you?” And so I thought – what is a champion? I knew that deep down I understood its meaning, but I could not describe it in words.

A Champion is . . . is a vibrant wild flower in a field of grass, a brilliant moon in the night sky, a glistening red apple amongst the leaves, an oasis in the searing desert.

A Champion is a torch, shining brightly, in the darkness, bringing warm light wherever it goes. And, in doing so, giving those blinded by darkness a chance to see.

And, like the flame of a torch, a Champion sparks new life. And only through much persistence can one be put out for the flaming spirit of a Champion is always ready to burn again.

But what marks the difference between a Champion and a winner? I feel it is only a matter of scale. A winner is a victor of games while a Champion is a victor of life.

And where did I learn this? At Camp Champions. I love camp. To me, it is a kind of annual pilgrimage that helps me find out who I really am.

Torchlight is one of my favorite traditions. We are congregated in recognition of acts of kindness, sportsmanship and many other qualities I think are important. Lighting the torch and keeping the spirit of the Champions alight is something that I do not reflect on often enough, but, as I sit and write this letter, I realize it is truly amazing.

And though the shape of the torch has changed, the spirit of the torch remains the same, having been passed from torchlighter to torchlighter for 40+ years.

And so I ask you (but not only you, Steve Sir), I ask everyone who hears this letter:

Have you met the task to be a Champion?

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