As SCATS 2017 comes to a close, campers are preparing for their last classes and goodbyes, and I find myself reflecting on how all the campers have grown over the past two weeks. As a counselor, some of the most personal interactions I have with the campers come during hall time. It’s the end of the day, after all the activities and classes have ended, when the campers return to their halls for a few more games of UNO or to strategize for the next edition of Mafia. During the first few days of camp, many of my campers were hesitant to come out of their shells. I found myself having to start conversations and nudge guys to join in activities.
Slowly, however, as classes settled down and everyone began to feel at home in Schneider Hall, I watched my campers become increasingly comfortable with each other and, more importantly, with themselves. They started pulling each other into the world of Magic the Gathering and sharing jokes they learned in Russian classes. Just last night, my entire hall was dancing along to the German operas they found on the radio (no, really, German operas). In such a short time, they have come to trust each other and to open themselves up to new people and new ideas. It has been an absolute pleasure to watch it unfold.
I truly believe that SCATS is one of the few places where you can gather a group of students—all with an enormous variety of interests, talents, and backgrounds—and have them become classmates, confidants, game partners, and best of friends all in a matter of days. Tonight, we have the final dinner and dance. Although the campers will be saying goodbye, I hope they will look back fondly on their memories from camp and the many friends they have made.