Do campers really develop values and character as a result of Camp?  Do they really go home a better person than when they arrived?  My answer is ABSOLUTELY!  It’s a tough one to prove and many times, the campers themselves don’t realize that they have changed as a result of Camp until years later, but I know it is the truth.  I see it more and more every year in our campers, staff, and alumni who have finished their camper/staff time at Camp and have gone off into the world. 

Camp has hugely influenced my own character.  Last week, I was called for Jury Duty.  Let’s face it.  No one yells “Wahooo!!!” when they get the summons in the mail.  I expected to show up, sit in a room for couple of hours, and then go home.  For the second time in my life, I was actually selected for a jury and for my first time, the case actually went to trial.  While going through the jury selection process, there were many ways I could have gotten out of being on the jury.  I could have answered any number of questions in a certain way that I know would have gotten me out of it, but I kept thinking about the video that they showed us when we first arrived.  The video was basically designed to guilt-trip any potential juror from trying to get out of serving for a non-legitimate reason.  It talked about our rights and responsibilities as citizens of the United States and about how lucky we are to live in a nation that has a fair judiciary system. 

I also thought about what Camp and my family has taught me about integrity.  To make a long story short, trying to get out of it (even though I have tons of work to do to be ready for Camp!) was not an option.  It turned out to be a very interesting experience.  I learned a lot about our court system and many other things as well.  While it was inconvenient, I’m glad I did it.  I guess Camp has had a pretty big influence on my conscience and that’s not a bad thing.  It makes it pretty easy to look in the mirror and feel good about the decisions I make.

Brent Birchler

Boys Camp Director