- This blog post was written by Sam Shelley -
1) The Importance of Relationships
Camp would not have been the same without the relationships I built — whether it was with my campers or with my peers. From the good times to the bad, the relationships I made at camp got me through the 99-degree weather, 11-hour shifts. When looking at the rest of my life, I have tried to appreciate the relationships outside of those I have experienced at summer camp. To my people at home and at UNC, I hope you know how much I value our friendships.
I have always been tremendously impatient, and it was not until I began working at camp that I even started to work on what is perhaps my biggest weakness. I primarily worked with first graders, and there was nothing that I could do or say to make them move faster. I eventually realized that taking two extra minutes to make it to the pool would not kill me, but attempting to get them to move faster would. Remember, being patient will get you so much further with any person than being impatient ever will.
3) Teams v. Working Groups
My camp team in 2016 was my most successful team because I learned the difference between a team and a working group. In a team, everyone places a bigger emphasis on the team's successes as a whole than on individuals. It is hard to work with others to achieve a specific goal when everyone has his/her interests in mind, but by working as a team, anything is possible.
4) Communication is everything
For anyone who has worked at a camp, or with kids in any regard, you know that communication is everything. To prevent bathroom accidents, dehydration, injuries, over-exhaustion and the 1000 other things that come with camp, I learned that communication is the key to success. It allows you to connect with other people and build trust. When working with friends, family or anyone you encounter, effectively communicating is the best way to being successful.
5) Valuing others
When working with kids, you may understand the importance of assessing children's opinions and feelings. It’s obvious that no adult wants their opinion or feelings to go invalidated, but it’s quickly forgotten that a child shouldn’t have to experience this invalidation either. When a friend confides in you, go out of your way to make sure that (s)he is more than just heard, but understood.
Supported by a Robert E. Bryan Fellowship from the APPLES Service-Learning Program, an offering of the Carolina Center for Public Service at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.