16 Feb “The time I liked myself best was…”

“The time I liked myself best was…”

I want to share with you a wonderful reflection by a former camper and current Senior Staff member on what Camp Susquehannock means to campers and alumni. It’s not just a summer filled with great fun – it’s a real and meaningful experience that lasts a lifetime. Please take a moment to read through this, I think you will find it very insightful…

My summers spent at Camp Susquehannock have made me witness to many confidence-building moments in the lives of our campers…

+ A camper who spent not days, or weeks, but two and a half full summers learning to swim and then completed their twenty laps

+ A camper who could only climb part way up the Tower in the past reaches the top for the first time

+ A group of campers in a cabin that rarely scores well in inspection makes a late-session run to claim the cleanest cabin title

These identifiable challenges were met, and the campers walked a little taller with confidence because of their accomplishments.

Some confidence-building moments happen unexpectedly. I recently came across an essay I wrote in 1983 at the start of sixth grade following my first summer at Camp Susquehannock…

The time I liked myself best was… When I was elected overall captain of the orange team at camp, also when I won an award shirt at camp. I got these for being a good athlete and a good sport. Being captain meant accepting a trophy if we won color day, and we did win color day. But Orange didn’t win Orange-Blue competition, so we didn’t get a chicken feed. I don’t know if I deserved being captain but I sure am glad I got picked. I played my hardest in all the sports, and tried to have a good attitude win or lose. And I had a really fun time.”

Thirty-five years later I still remember how surprised I was when these honors were announced. The award shirt no longer fits and Susquehannock no longer holds Color Day, but the confidence I gained from that experience remains with me today.

These experiences, expected or unexpected, are part of a camper’s self-discovery that happens at camp. Susquehannock is a multi-sport camp where we teach Basketball, Soccer, Tennis, Swimming, and so on – however – sports are the venue we use to teach life lessons. I recently read in Joe Ehrmann’s book Insideout Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives

“For Socrates, a team was a virtuous community critical to the civic, moral, and spiritual development of the city-state. Friendship was the foundation of a team and self-knowledge was a prerequisite to becoming a true friend.”

I immediately thought of Camp Susquehannock. A camper’s self-discovery, be it confidence or empathy or cooperation, leads to a better understanding of himself, which in turn results in the deep and meaningful friendships formed at camp. These friendships build the foundations of cohesive teams, like Pepper Box cleaning up for inspection, the Orange and Blue Chiefs facing off on the Hockey court, or Table 4 sitting down for a meal in the dining hall. A sense of self, a sense of friendship, and a sense of belonging to a team all combine to form a strong community. Empowering the young people of Susquehannock with these lessons they will be better versions of themselves, and, if I may quote my eleven-year-old self, “[have] a really fun time!”

Andrew Hano
Susquehannock for Boys

I hoped you enjoyed this. It’s just another example of how Camp Susquehannock provides multi-sport athletic development and confidence-based learning.

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