07 Nov The Keys to Perseverance and How it is Developed at Susquehannock

The Keys to Perseverance and How it is Developed at Susquehannock

One of the key traits we pride ourselves on developing at Susquehannock is perseverance. The past few years has required a great deal of perseverance by us all. That said, I want to share with you just how this development takes place at Susquehannock and what makes it happen.

Opportunities to roll over and quit present themselves every day in our lives and those of us who learn to persevere will do well when faced with life challenges.

So, why do some people quit and others persevere? What makes some people push through formidable challenges, and how can you become one of them?

Here are the keys to perseverance and how it is cultivated at Susquehannock…

You must have a purpose. For examples, athletes dig far deeper when there is a real purpose motivating them forward.

The purpose must be intrinsically real! It cannot be fake. It must be felt from within. External rewards won’t do the job.

Participation trophies and ribbons won’t help you overcome the tough times. Those types of rewards are easy to give up on when confronted with real challenges. But if you have a real, heartfelt deep drive or purpose behind what you are doing the temptation to quit is easily pushed aside.

Here’s a great example: each summer as campers arrive on campus, we encourage them to swim their 20 laps (500 meters) and then the entire length of Tripp Lake. I have seen campers attempt to swim their 20 laps multiple times before the they finally do it.

This past summer I witnessed a young girl attempt to swim the lake three times before she did it. Why did this camper persevere? What motivated her to not give up? It was purpose. She had an intrinsic purpose to continue.

Let me explain: when the campers arrived at camp, we could have told them that in order to compete in the Regatta and potentially win a medal they would have to to swim their 20 laps first.

But we don’t! Winning a medal at the Regatta is not going to motivate a beginner to swim 500 meters or the full length of the lake.

However, when a camper sees his or her friends jumping off the diving board, hanging out on the float or kayaking – they develop a real purpose and are motivated to join their friends. It is this motivation that will push a child past the temptation to quit.

Purpose is what drives us. Olympic athletes don’t train their entire life for the medal. They train because they want to be the best or they want the opportunity to compete against the best. It is this purpose that compels athletes to get up at 5:00 am to train. It’s the purpose that compels an artist or a musician to hone their craft day after day after day. Money, trophies and fame are just a byproduct of their purpose.

If you want to be successful in any endeavor, you must start with the mind-set that nothing can or will stop you from realizing your intended outcome. And just like your purpose, the mind-set must be real. It can’t be made up or faked.

Simply telling yourself you can do something or receiving false accolades from friends, parents or coaches is not going to help you persevere through a challenge!

If you look closely at how we develop perseverance and confidence at Susquehannock you will see, we introduce new concepts and skills gradually over the course of the session.

Our incredible staff does a great job designing a series – a progression of clinics, activities, competition, and exposure to new things (combined with constructive feedback) – which helps kids build that true self-belief and confidence in themselves!

Experience is what determines how hardy your walls of perseverance will become. Each time you want to quit and do not, your wall gets thicker and thicker. Every time you do something you thought or imagined to be too difficult or that almost defeated you, you have just added one more skill to your repertoire that you can do again.

This happens every day at Susquehannock. It happens when a camper arrives and must spend their first night away from home – it happens when a child must learn to share with others – it happens when a camper is put in a group with no one he or she knows – it happens when a camper plays a sport they have never tried before – it happens when a camper is homesick and learns that their new friends will help them get through it – it happens when they swim their 500 meters and the length of the lake!

It is the culmination of all these experiences, one on top of the other, that build the walls of perseverance and confidence and this will stay with them.

Every time they do something new – academically, athletically, professionally – something they thought too difficult, they will gain a greater outlook on life!

Hollywood loves to tell the story of the underdog who comes from nothing and climbs the ladder of success all by themselves. While this all sounds great, most people who rise to success through sheer perseverance have some support behind them. Very few (if any!) can overcome these challenges alone.

To develop perseverance, one must be humble enough to ask for and then accept help. Your family, friends, associates and teammates are the ones who will keep you going through tough times.

At Susquehannock, we introduce new sports and activities to campers daily. Campers learn the power of a support group, the power of a team and the value of teamwork. I have seen children arrive at camp who were fantastic Basketball players but had little skill in Soccer. When the time came to play Soccer, they lacked confidence to go on the pitch and in some cases were on the verge of refusing to play.

However, they persevered and played anyway because they had the support of their team. Their team helped because those teammates knew there were sports they would have to play where their skill level was inadequate and without each other the team could not succeed!

As you go through life there will inevitably be setbacks, challenges and fear. Don’t be afraid to ask for or accept help. We all need support!

In life, as in sports, you are not going to win all the time. The best hitters in Baseball succeed less than 30% of the time but they continue to persevere.

Things don’t always turn out the way we envisioned. That is part of life. Just don’t quit!

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