Celebrating Camp Culture
This past weekend I was in Toronto for the wedding of a good friend of mine – Alex Plant. Alex went to Wap for a number of years as both a camper and staff. The wedding was a ton of fun because there were so many camp friends there, and the great Taylor Statten I – The Chief – was even quoted in the wedding ceremony (“before you marry someone, make sure you go on a canoe trip with them first!”).
On the way back up to camp last night (our entire office and maintenance team are still up north), I began re-reading my favourite book, Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom. The book is about Mitch Albom’s university professor, Morrie, and all the great life lessons he shares with Mitch on his death bed as he struggles with ALS. One of my favourite lessons from the book is about creating a culture that promotes happiness:
“‘Dying,’ Morrie suddenly said, ‘is only one thing to be sad over, Mitch. Living unhappily is something else. So many of the people who come to visit me are unhappy.’
‘Well, for one thing, the culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. We’re teaching the wrong things. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it. Create your own. Most people can’t do it. They’re more unhappy than me – even in my current condition.'”
One of the reasons I love camp so much is because I think that it succeeds where other parts of society fail; camp creates a culture that helps youth to feel good about themselves. When we strip away all the noise around us from the city, we come up to Canoe Lake and find meaning by focusing on the people around us. Or as Morrie says, we’re able to find meaning by, “devoting ourselves to loving others and devoting ourselves to the community around us.”
I think I speak for all of the members of the TSC community when I say that I’m proud to be part of a culture that places so much emphasis not on things or accomplishments, but on people. It was great to be at a wedding in Toronto this past weekend with so many camp friends and see that this sense of community stays with us once we leave the shores of Canoe Lake and carry on our lives in the city.
Thanks to Alex Plant and Cam Quinn for inviting so many TSC alumni to their wedding and for helping the camp culture to live on in the city!
– Sean Whelan