If you don’t learn to stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
Dr. Martha Sales repeated this phrase during a Tuesday night talk with our Camp Discover campers, making sure they understood the message. Currently serving as the Dean of Students and Assistant Vice President of Student Life at Western Kentucky University, Dr. Sales shared with the students that she started from small beginnings. She had to work hard and push forward to achieve what she has, she said.
To help our campers understand, she had everyone stand up for several minutes. “You’ve got to stand up for yourself,” she said. One student raised his hand and said he wanted to sit back down. When Dr. Sales asked why, he said, “I’m tired.” Her response was, “Sometimes we get tired when we stand up.” Several students nodded in agreement as Farrah S. said, “This is awkward.” Dr. Sales replied, “When we stand, it may be tiring, it may hurt at times, and it may be awkward, but we do it anyway.”
It can be easy to give up and sit, she said, but others can give you the support you need to stay standing and stay on course. When Dr. Sales first expressed a desire to attend college, her guidance counselor told her that she shouldn’t since her parents didn’t. Though discouraged and disappointed, she and her family found help from members of their church, and she eventually earned four degrees at WKU. Dr. Sales encouraged campers to let others know what they need to achieve their goals. She explained that there are people who are willing to help – and they may not always be those you think of initially.
And while it’s important to do things for others, she said, it’s most important you do it for yourself. At the end, she spent some time talking to the campers about their futures and gave some advice and words of encouragement on how to make those dreams happen.
— Wade Vierheller, head counselor, and Jennifer Wilson, Center staff