What Gift has Camp Given You?

Andrew Leech hails from Scotland and spent 7 summers at Perlman. His last summer in Lake Como was 2014. We miss you Leech!

By Andrew Leech

To mention one thing that camp has given to me is incredibly difficult as there are just too many highlights to choose from. From new experiences, to lifelong friends, it has taught me a lot about myself and opened my mind to so much more.

If I had to choose one thing that I cherish the most, even years after being at camp, I would have to say the relationships that I have built whilst there. I have made friends from my hometown to all over my home country of Scotland to friends across the world.

My Perlman friends may be spread out across the world but they are some of the closest friends that I have in life. I have been lucky enough to have attended a wedding in Ohio, spend New Year’s Eve in Australia and visit a multitude of states across America where people have been more than happy to host and show me around. I honestly don’t believe that I would have had these opportunities, had I not met so many fantastic people at camp.

It’s a group of people who get together to share experiences, learn about each other and give the children and each other the best possible summer. The best gift, camp has given to me, are the people that I call my friends.

When I think of camp, I feel happy and I can get lost in my own memories and thoughts for hours. To me, camp is a place where I will always be welcome along with so many others. All of the experiences of working with children at camp have been taking into my own life and career.

Now, as a Primary Teacher in Scotland, to this day, I still look back on skills, games and experiences that I learned whilst at camp. Camp brings me light through all that I have learned there and I can share some of that with the children I teach here every day. Those special skills that I learned from camp have helped me out of a jam or two when you need that crazy ‘getting to know you’ game or the kids are just so hyper that you need a high tempo game to help them offload some of that energy.

My version of a miracle at camp is not one where something magical or amazing has happened. Some might in fact consider it mundane and a regular occurrence, however, all that have witnessed a camp sunset, have you ever seen a better sunset? It can be a different colour every night with the clouds playing out a different scene and sometimes it can bring hundreds of people to a standstill, as they get lost in its beauty. At the end of a hectic day, where you feel like you have never stopped, the power and beauty of the sunset is a miracle to me.

Camp brings so many people together with one initial aim, to give the children of Perlman Camp the best summer of their lives. When you immerse yourself in this idea and add in the values and ethos of camp along with the opportunities it gives so many children to learn something new about themselves, it makes for one unbelievable summer…or 7, in my case.

Giving children the opportunity in any setting or context is the most important thing you can do for them in their lives. Camp gives so many children, so many opportunities and everyone who walks through the gate is a part of that and I could not be prouder to say that I was a part of Perlman for 7 years. It will always be in my thoughts and I think of the place and all that it does anytime I need an idea or a positive thought.