Tony Em & KidsOne more thing to love about camp …

As Evan and I watched the NFL at home this past Sunday, and even some of the post-game coverages, I counted multiple incidents of blatantly poor sportsmanship by several players … one or two of which that could have caused their teams to lose the game.  I appreciate that in the midst of an emotional, adrenaline-fueled athletic experience, one can lose his or her cool on occasion.  But too often when watching sports these days you see players who separate and celebrate themselves, and too often at the cost of the team he or she is playing on.

So how does this relate to camp?  I can’t tell you how many times I have heard from counselors returning from an intercamp or tournament at another camp that our kids played hard, supported one another and conducted themselves with class.  Over and over again, Echo Lake staff report how our campers win and lose with grace.  It makes me so proud when I hear that.  It also makes me feel good that the lessons a camp experience imparts is filled with reinforcing the values of sportsmanship, teamwork and supporting your friends.

Whether on a field, on the stage, or climbing up the face of a mountain, the richest rewards go to the folks who behave like a team.  When the star of the show helps the understudy learn his or her lines, that makes the whole show better.  When the #1 player on a team talks strategy with the last person on the bench, that makes the team better.  Why?  Because when everyone on a team feels invested in each other and cares for one another, the greater the chance that team will have to reach its potential.

When one team member exhibits poor sportsmanship or celebrates his or her own accomplishments above the team’s, that sours the experience and makes the team less powerful.  For our campers, I ask you to think about this next time you are involved in a team effort – and think about all the times at camp when a teammate made you feel like an important member of the team … and how it made you want to try just a bit harder.

As you embark on – and involve yourself with – all kinds of team efforts between now and the start of camp, always remember that good sportsmanship, teamwork and supporting your friends are the bedrocks of successful teams and successful experiences!