by Sam Vitale
Thursday evening after dinner, our campers had the awesome opportunity to hear a talk from retired Air Force general Dan Cherry. Having attended camp when I was younger, I had had the incredible experience of hearing General Cherry’s story when I was younger and knew that it would be a great time for the campers. While some in my own hall were initially hesitant about the talk, it took mere minutes for the campers in the Gary Ransdell Hall auditorium to become glued to their seats and grow fully invested in the speaker’s story.
The lessons of reconciliation, forgiveness, and friendship taught by General Cherry matter for these campers now more than ever, and certainly the very interesting military elements of the talk helped to hold the campers’ attention. The real impact of the talk, however, was demonstrated in the questions our campers asked after General Cherry finished his talk, when they wanted to learn more details about the general’s time in the Air Force and about his relationship with his one-time Vietnamese enemy and now friend. The conversations I had with the campers later that night during room checks also showed they were absolutely impacted by the talk and walked away with many valuable lessons.