Saturday, July 11, 2020

1980 - Day Camp Days

Temple City YMCA (Circa 1980-81) My Day Camp Group

(40 Summers 40 Lessons Series)

On July 11, 1980 I walked into the Temple City YMCA (a branch of the Pasadena YMCA). Imagine a suburban neighborhood 2 bedroom house with a backyard pool. That was our YMCA in Temple City.

It was this day that I met with the day camp staff for the first Friday afternoon meeting in preparation for the coming week and my first day as an employee of the YMCA. I was 15 (a few weeks from 16) and had gotten the job because my sister, Jackie, was working with her friend Sandy Nordin, whose mom (Maxine) was the Program Director for that YMCA. It was truly who you know. In attendance was Tony Del Negro, Lisa Russell, Jackie, Sandy, Maxine, Julie Tindall and several other staff.

Later I would meet  Dave Hagen, Bill Gagliardi, Bob Montes, Ron Perry, Wally Wirick, Sam Brown, Auggie Mayne, George Finnerty, Ron Clear, Art & Barbara Wetton, Don Olsen, Marcel Schwantes, Ken Stein, Robin Stein, Patty Hart, EJ Lugo, Brian Kelly, Peggy Conklin, Matt Shea, Josh Greene, Megan Kelly, Paul Cary, Steve Waterman, Julie Czochara, Michael Garcia, 100s of volunteers, over 2000 staff and nearly 53,400 campers that have helped me become a better servant leader and human.

It was and has been the greatest learning experience and I had no idea that it has allowed me on a path to be a Servant Leader over the last four decades of my life. There have been friendships forged that have lasted that long and helped me develop of sense of creating community. It is servant leadership at five different agencies (6 camps) and in the Youth Development Leadership field.

I’ve found that my best days are the ones where peace has emerged from struggle. It is in this struggle that each day has ended and like most camps, we have had difficult moments. It is in that strife that emerges the love and respect as well as all those leadership opportunities.

A camp life I have had the blessing to share (and be supported by) my wife Lee Anne, and our children, Alec, Kelly, and Brian.

Today’s marks 40 years in service. Happy 40 years to all those whom I have had the privilege to work and to serve.

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