How is it possible that one job as a camp director can be the best part of our job as well as the worst? On the one hand, we are making dreams come true for four longtime Deerhorn campers. On the other hand, we are sharing news of disappointment to their peers who were not chosen and have brought such joy and kindness to camp during their years as a camper.
It’s a hard choice, one of the hardest we make as directors. Every year I will tell you what a hard choice it was. Every year I will tell you how we wish we could have 8 leaders or more. But honestly, it’s a pretty great problem to have…because what it means is that every summer, we are surrounded by the best of the best. Those eligible to be leaders in 2016 have, as a group, a combined 119 years at camp. Now THAT is loyalty and dedication.
As kids get older, it begins to get increasingly difficult for them to come back to camp. Summer school gets in the way. They are told by coaches that if they are not there for the whole summer pre-season, they will not play that fall. Our teenagers have to make some tough choices, and we understand how difficult it is to decide. When you are good at so many things, and people enjoy having you around, you feel pulled in so many different directions.
We are always grateful when kids choose to return to Deerhorn as a teenager. Those older kids make Deerhorn better by leading by example, and helping the younger kids understand what it means to “Live the Creed.” Our seniors are all leaders in their own right, as they set the bar high for the younger ones, demonstrating kindness and good sportsmanship on a daily basis. Kids look up to the seniors, the leaders, the assistant counselors. Even if they are not chosen to be a Deerhorn Leader, they will always have the opportunity to return to Deerhorn and help make it even better. There is always a place in the Deerhorn Family.
The leaders we have chosen for the summer of 2016 are a stellar crew. We have no doubt they are going to lead well next summer. They come to Deerhorn from far and wide, from New York to Tennessee, from Florida to Mexico City. They are four of the kindest young men you could ever be lucky enough to meet and we are grateful to call them friends.
Diego comes from Mexico City, and next summer will be his ELEVENTH as a Deerhorn camper. He is leading the Apache in 2016 and is well loved around camp by all. He is always there to give a helping hand to younger campers, including his cousin, Francisco (pictured). And no one is going to be prouder of Diego as a leader than his younger brother, Inigo.
Jake is leading the Chippewa in 2016. He comes from New York and will be returning for his 5th summer at Deerhorn. Jake is funny and warm and respected by campers and staff alike. Always smiling, always kind, always willing to help.
Andrew is returning to Deerhorn for his 4th summer to lead the Iroquois. He is from Davie, Florida, and Iroquois and Deerhorn run in his blood. He is proud to be the third of his brothers to lead the Iroquois at Deerhorn. He spends time with younger campers and gets to know them, and kids of all ages look up to him.
Max is another for whom Deerhorn runs in his blood. He is a third generation Deerhorn camper, whose dad, uncles, cousins, and grandfather all attended camp. He is from Brentwood, Tennessee and is leading the Navajo for his 6th summer as a camper. You will always see Max with a smile on his face, and he is well-known for his amazing fashion sense.
The summer of 2015 has just ended. But we are already looking forward to spending the summer of 2016 with these four guys, and the rest of the Deerhorn Family. We truly hope that all of our 15 year olds from this past summer will join us on staff in 2016. It promises to be the best yet.