When I walk around campus I’m surrounded by inspiration and I’m always surprised when more often than not inspiration walks straight up to me. Taking a second to myself to appreciate the sweeping valley of trees, shades of light to dark green portray a gradient of texturized forests. It’s like looking at a landscape painting at the Metropolitan or Art Institute of Chicago, but instead of moving on to the next landscape after a few moments of silent viewing, you are alive for as long as you want inside this painting. In this case I was noticing how the trees follow a wave like pattern in the valley that mirrors the placement of slow rolling puffy clouds in the sky above when an Upper Plebe simply called out to me. “Want to join us?”
He was smiling up at me and extended out his golf club to me to take and play along with his game of golf. Standing in the grass a few feet away from he, he waiting patiently for my reply and this pause made me realize he was genuine in asking his question. Before I replied I looked back again to the driving range where many Upper Plebes were launching golf balls into the sky. I look back to the Upper Plebe and answer, “Yes, I will join you.” “Great! My name is Mason.”
Mason’s question may have been simple but his implications are much deeper. When he asked me–just another staff member that happened to walk by the golfing activity–that question, he asked more of me than just joining a game of golf. He asked me to join his friends, his community and to become a part of his summer, a time in his life he always looks forward to and regrets leaving in August. This is an honor to be invited into a child’s world and be presented with the opportunity to help him become a better individual, or sometimes to just play a game of golf.
Mason’s small act of kindness plays a huge part in highlighting what kind of special place Camp Starlight represents. This place is more than just a summer camp, it is a world where kindness, friendship, trust and the initiative to share happiness with others, regardless if you know them or not, are the pillars that hold this place up and together.