Athletics at Camp – CD News 2020
By #20595 Kat Nelson
There is nothing better than keeping up with our summer community during the year. We do this through our Open House travels, photo sharing, lots of personal communication and, on the best days, going to sporting events! A number of our current Leaders and staff are playing sports at the collegiate level and we make sure to follow along during their seasons.
We decided to reach out to some of our ‘Leader Athletes’ to better understand the influence Camp has on them and, ultimately, their teams.
The moment someone steps foot in Camp, we provide them with opportunities to develop as a leader. Our youngest campers take on roles within their cabin and work to understand the importance of helping others. As campers progress through divisions and on to our leadership program, we stress the importance of different styles of leadership and how various situations call for distinct types of leadership. Recognizing the value each person brings to the table, our goal is to create a staff that includes a variety of leadership approaches.
The same holds true for a team. A team with only one style or one skill will struggle, particularly in challenging situations.
College coaches are looking for leaders who will balance the team’s dynamics. When you have your most challenging moments on the field, coaches look to their leaders to step up. The leadership developed at Camp, for people of all ages, directly translates to the court, water, or field. #21204 Ellie Storey recently walked on to the women’s basketball team at Hamilton College and says that her coach picks up on these quali
ties and, “Often recognizes [her] positive energy and hard work that [she] brings to practices and games.” On the other hand, as captain of the Bates swim and dive team, #21461 Jem Bullock is constantly finding ways to connect with each person on a very large team with several different friend groups. He says, “As a D-Head last year, I gained invaluable social skills just from being around so many different people. This has helped me tremendously at Bates.”
Many of our leader athletes told us about the supportive community that Camp provides and how they strive for that on their teams. #21411 Hannah Williams, a goalie for Penn State, talks about what sets her apart from her teammates: “Whether I’m sitting on the bench or starting in goal, I will always be their biggest cheerleader. When I walk onto the field I’m playing for my teammates. Succeeding together is the best feeling and I wouldn’t change it for the world.” That sentiment rings true for campers and leaders alike when they are with us in the summer. When they are at Camp they feel supported and surrounded by family. You’ll find this same type of community on the Northwestern men’s soccer team where #24868 Ugochukwu Achara is a first-year player. He says it’s the kindness that truly sticks with him: “Teamwork and the importance of kindness towards anybody and everybody which in turn creates a wholesome environment for all to coexist.” When people feel that they are a part of a community they are more likely to grow and take calculated risks.
TRY NEW THINGS
Perhaps it is, in fact, the community that allows people to try new ideas and activities at Camp. Camp is often the place where someone discovers a passion and goes home to further explore. At Dudley and Kiniya, campers are required to participate in all of the team sports we offer. “Experimenting with sports I had never played before at Camp led me to be willing to experiment in college,” says #21412 Gretchen Willmuth, a member of the Wellesley sailing and ultimate frisbee teams: “Camp taught me to stretch [my] comfort zone and stay positive in the face of adversity.” In an age of so much specialization, Camp is a sanctuary for high level athletes looking for a balanced experience. Despite time away from their specialization, Camp can enhance their value as a team player through character development and a sense of community.
It can be hard to teach character development. Thankfully, sports at Camp provide opportunities for this growth through a focus on sportsmanship and integrity. When a group has developed in these ways they are paving the way to reach the next level. Whether that next level is collectively playing the most cohesive game or supporting each other in a deep and meaningful cabin vesper discussion, it cannot happen without leadership or character. In the cabin, we focus our conversations around being our best selves and putting others before us. We talk to campers about how difficult it can be to always do the right thing even when it is not the popular thing. Campers and leaders take these lessons and look for them out in the real world when searching for new communities to join. #22719 Sydney Zoehrer recognizes it in her sailing team experience when she is out on the water, “I have the utmost respect for the sailor that will spin after fouling someone else even when nobody’s watching.” Taking responsibility for your actions will never go unnoticed by a Dudley or Kiniya alum.
ONE AND THE SAME
And finally, no one put it better than Haverford lacrosse player, #22978 Asher Porphy: “The things Dudley teaches us and the standards that college athletics forces you to adhere to are one and the same. Things like accountability, communication, problem-solving, and paramount to all, leadership, are the things that were taught to me in a variety of ways both in my camper and leadership years.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Thank You to the Following Athletes
#22637 Hannah Schwoebel – St. Lawrence
#21204 Ellie Storey – Hamilton
#21170 Jacqueline McKeown – Kenyon
#22902 Ellie Miller – Swarthmore
#22048 Ethan Dewbrey – Kenyon
#22978 Asher Porphy – Haverford
#21412 Gretchen Willmuth – Wellesley
#22719 Sydney Zoehrer – Yale
#21411 Hannah Williams – Penn State
#22868 Ella Dudley – Bowdoin
#24868 Ugochukwu Achara – Northwestern
Swim & Dive
#21461 Jem Bullock – Bates