A Look Back at Leaders-Navin Linson

Next up in our Look Back series, we get to hear from Priya and Josh Linson, Navin’s parents. Navin is the Leader of the 2024 Deerhorn Wolves, is from Willowbrook, IL, and is returning to Deerhorn for his 8th summer!



It’s hard to believe that I’m writing this post, after reading Leader “look-backs” every year for nearly a decade.  Navin showed up for his first year of camp in 2016, 7 years old and so excited after watching videos and hearing stories of our own camp adventures from when we were young.  Dropping him off was harder than I expected – he was stoic and silent on the drive up and since I went to camp less than an hour away from Deerhorn, I was overwhelmed with sudden nostalgia myself.  It was so emotional and he was so quietly nervous that I slipped away after a quick goodbye without taking a picture, watching him walk away holding a tennis racquet and crying.


Seeing the pictures that first summer during the session and watching the smile grow bigger and bigger made me feel better and when we picked him up after 9 days I knew he was a camp convert for life.  Since then, Navin has absolutely lived for Deerhorn.  He talks about camp so much and so consistently during the school year that I have joked that he’s likely to live in our basement when he grows up because he’ll only want to be at camp every summer!  I’ve never seen anyone happier than Navin finding out that camp would reopen in 2021 after two years away.
During his many years at Deerhorn, Navin has grown into a leader, exemplifying the Deerhorn Creed in many ways both at camp and at home.  It was very special in those early years to see him connect with older boys who took him under their wing, and then to watch him blossom into one of those older boys, doing the same with those that came after him.  I have so many photos of Navin being mentored and coached by older campers who themselves would become leaders and counselors.  Last summer, Navin’s camp friend Cristobal flew up from Mexico City a day early and I drove the two boys up to the bus as they started their Voyager summer.  It was really touching to hear them talk to each other in the morning – they were both definitely nervous, but Navin also mused “I remember looking up to the Voyagers and Pioneers when I was a little kid, and now that’s us.”  The camp directors handling the bus in Wilmette put them right to work, asking them to greet first-year boys and their families, and I loved seeing them scatter and immediately start engaging others.
If there was a moment I thought Navin would crack, it was Voyager!  Navin loves being outdoors at camp, but he’s never been camping before and on bad-weather days, he prefers to be inside, on the couch or in the basement.  I was so proud of him for turning around a rough start and super rainy day into an amazing leadership journey that gave him tools he can use his whole life.  We’re proud of his accomplishments from last year and over the many summers he’s spent at camp and are so grateful to the Deerhorn community for being a part of his development over the years.
I know that Navin, Des, Sully, and Walker will have an amazing summer as leaders, and that they and their other Deerhorn friends have a lifetime of friendship and adventures ahead together.  Many thanks to so many who have been a part of making summer so special for our son!

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