The 3 C's of life : My THC Story
Where do I even begin? I originally heard about Tyler Hill Camp through my best friend, Adam Lane, and his brother, Ste. These two are both very influential and valued members of the THC family, and have been in charge of the Outdoor Adventure program and an Upper Boys’ Side Divisional Leader. I am lucky enough to have known both of these guys all my life, and back in 2012 they asked me about the possibility of spending that summer at Tyler Hill Camp.
At first, I was a little unsure and thought that a summer camp was not for me. What would I do there? 12 weeks long? But I knew nothing about working with kids? What if I get homesick? Pennsylvania -- isn't that where vampires originated from?
These are all questions that just might go through your mind as a first year counsellor (maybe not the vampire question). This leads me to my first C in life: Choices. In that moment back in 2012 I had a choice to make: Stay with my family back home or experience a summer camp and take a risk? Which one do you think I chose?
I decided to spend my summer at Tyler Hill Camp as the soccer specialist and it truly was the greatest decision of my life. I was placed with the 14 year-old boys, otherwise known as the “Super Boys”. Zach Caine was my Group Leader and became my role model. He had been a camper himself and had worked with my boys from the time they were freshmen. I could not have shared a bunk with someone better. When I had questions about THC, he had all the answers and really help me to settle in. It was the summer of my life.
I returned to Tyler Hill the following summer now as the director of the soccer program, and also was able to remain with my same campers. Whether I was telling stories or playing sports with them, I soon realised that these 30 campers were the little brothers I never had. This brings me onto my second C: Chances.
Andy, Mike, Chris Beltz, Ste and Adam all gave me a chance to work at Tyler Hill Camp. Those are just 5 people from a list of so many at THC for whom I have the upmost respect. I had a chance to act as a role model to my campers, and even at times I had the chance to act as a kid again.
Fast forward to the year 2014. I graduated University, got a job and for the next two summers, went into the “real world” and lived the mundane 9-5 existence. Summer 2014 came around, then suddenly it was Summer 2015. Sure a two week family holiday is nice but other than that, I don't have one single memory to look back on in those two years. Why?
This finally brings me onto my third C: Changes. In the summer of 2016 I made a change in my lifestyle and decided that I wanted to go back to Tyler Hill Camp. I realised I had grew a greater appreciation for this place and having spent so long away, I wanted to make up for lost time. I reached out to Andy, Mike and Beltz and raised the possibility of coming back to camp. And sure enough, I returned. I had a new set of campers and counselors, and saw both new faces and old. The best part of Summer 2016? Seeing my former campers who grew until full-fledged Tyler Hill staff. I now had the opportunity to witness first-hand the men they grew up to be.
My happiest moment in particular was hearing one of my own former campers say the words, “Thank you everything you did for me. You are the reason I became a Counselor.” Sure getting to know a new group of campers had its challenges but now I hope that my new campers did learn a thing or two and I was an impact to them in some form, whether it be a life lesson or simply a terrible joke. I had another 30 opportunities to make a difference.
Now I go back to the question I asked. And yes, you are all wrong. The decision I made in 2012 was indeed to spend the summer with my family -- my second family. My Tyler Hill family.
People will be reading this who have far more life experience or many more summers under their belt than me, or even may be reading this as a first year counsellor in the hope of finding the answers I was seeking many years ago.
What did I learn in summary? Life is all about making memories and making a difference to others.
The 3 C's : You must make a Choice to take a Chance or your life will never Change.
Thanks for reading!