20 years of loving summer camp by Douglas Haines

To say summer camp has a special part in my heart only begins to do justice to what i feel. 20 continuous years on camp tell you I became an addict.  At first as a monitor/counselor it was about being outside doing sports and bonding with the children. Later as a coordinator it became about creating spectacular activities and evening entertainments, then as a Camp Director it was about the buzz of making it all come together no matter what. However it has been as  Director of Language Camps that my mission in life was revealed.

There is only one feeling that i have encountered that is more inspiring than educating a child to be a better version of them-self and that is motivating other staff to believe wholeheartedly in that mission. The most soul inspiring moments in my life have happened when the people I trained put into action those skills and attitudes and committed to making sure children had a summer of a lifetime. To lead, motivate and develop people in the skills needed to educate children is quite simply a wonderful thing.

Summer Camp offers individuals the chance to develop in ways you just can’t comprehend until you’re on that journey.  The fact all staff share the honorable goal of looking after and educating children offers an unique framework to bond together with a shared “purpose”. With this security of knowing you do something that matters, the opportunity for professional and personal development is limitless. The development i have seen of individual children and of staff during a summer (and over many) is quite simply incredible. As one parent put it, summer camp can and does “mark the life” of those it touches.

So when someone asks me why have i worked 20 years on summer camp? Although my thoughts and emotions are numerous, my logic is clear: “I’m addicted to the feeling of pride and accomplishment i get from playing my part in creating an environment which does really make both children and staff better people”. Staff and children who are validated in their sense of worth, who have hidden talents revealed and nourished, staff and children who want to be kinder and nicer versions of themselves.

Summer Camp is a place where you can find a purpose, a place where you can become a better person and most inspiring of all it is a place where you can help others to believe in them-self more.

Douglas Haines

Director of TECS Language Camps

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