Leadership. The words that describe camp are not just leadership, but most importantly servant leadership. Servant leadership: Serving with the action of giving yourself to others. For the last nine years, servant leaders have surrounded me and guided me into a path of becoming a servant leader at YMCA Camp High Harbour at Lake Allatoona. I know that the servant leadership that surrounds my YMCA camp created my story.
My proudest servant leadership moment was found when I met Brantley. Brantley came to camp on a full scholarship with one-swimsuit and shoes two sizes too big. The first time I met Brantley he ran away from me. Shortly after me not noticing, his cabin counselor brought him back to me and said, “you have to keep an eye on him. He is a runner.” From that moment on, I knew I had to not only keep an eye on him, but also be his friend. Brantley and I became good friends as soon as we had the chance to make slime together.
That week I worked on my servant leadership by making Brantley feel like a super star. On his birthday we had a huge carnival. That day we convinced him it was his birthday party and we got him a few extra slushies. During my off skill I would always go to his swimming class and help teach him how to swim. We would always meet at the camp store to get his daily slushy and play in the sand at the volleyball court. One day, while Brantley was sipping on his strawberry slushy, he looked at me and said, “I never want to leave here.” I asked him why and he responded with, “There is always yelling at my house.” I asked him to tell me more, but he moved from the topic to talk about his strawberry slushy. At first, I did not know what to do. I did not want to put Brantley in a bad situation at home, but I also did not want to ignore the situation. That day I had to trust my gut. I told his head counselor and together we went to share with our pro staff.
I believe that if it was not for my servant leadership skills I learned in previous years at camp, Brantley would have never opened up to me. I also believe in donating to send scholarship campers to camp because of the tremendous benefit to them. All of these events were formed through the leadership training I learned from YMCA Camp High Harbour.