The other day on a hike I had the wonderful honor to witness the type of boy Camp Wachusett is privileged to help guide through the tumultuous journey of modern childhood. After a long and arduous hike to the summit of a mountain, all of the boys (and counselors!) were exhausted, famished, and a bit on edge. The challenging ascent was especially tough on one young man, and while he was frustrated during the hike, he completed the task without a complaint. Now I could write about the perseverance this boy showed (and he did), or I could write about the challenges that Camp Wachusett provides for boys, allowing them to struggle and question, but ultimately succeed (and we do). But I have chosen to write about the selfless kindness that a number of our campers showed while on top of the mountain. Upon reaching the summit, our frustrated camper needed some alone time, and we allowed it. The counselors busied themselves with serving snack to the campers. This is a rather intense and time-consuming task...trying to manage the ravenous nature of boys. After the feeding frenzy was over, I looked up in search of our lonely hiker, and indeed, he was still in the same spot across the summit where I had seen him. But the scene was quite different; he was surrounded by a group of sympathetic campers. They weren’t offering food or even encouragement. These boys recognized the hiker’s need to work-out his frustrations and were not forcing interaction; they were simply offering their presence, their friendship. Our camp motto is Unaliyi, a Native American word for friendship. Camp Wachusett strives to guide boys to be kind and to create friendships. We provided the venue, and clearly, these boys exceeded our expectations.
-by Andrew Johnson