By Molly “Do Re Mi” Bamberger
Kid President always says,
“Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.”
— Wise words from a 12-year-old serving only his fourth year in “office.” For those of you who haven’t heard of Robby Novak, he is a young social media star striving to make the world “more awesome” by creating videos that spread love and positive energy to all corners of the world. And we all know that this ever-challenging planet needs that love right about now.
That’s where Troy Camp comes in. I was lucky enough to join this magical organization during my first year at school, and I can say with absolute confidence that there is no place where you’ll find as many loving “somebodyies” who care for everybody as you will in USC’s Troy Camp.
When I began my time in Troy Camp I was, as with any new venture, quite nervous. Questions brewed about in my mind. What will the kids think of me? Will I be able to connect in the way that they need? Can I really balance leadership and friendship? Questions such as these are normal, as anyone who has embarked on the journey of mentorship will know.
But then there were the questions I admit to less readily. Will the other counselors like me? Will I be accepted into their already seasoned social dynamic? Will I be able to fully give myself to these kids if I don’t feel a connection to the other counselors and to the organizatation as a whole? Luckily, these pesky little questions were quickly answered. Yes, they liked and accepted me… as they do everybody else. These are some of the kindest people I have ever known — acceptance is simply in their DNA. And of course we will all be there for the kids no matter what happens within the counselor circle. There’s a reason the word “commitment” is in our organization’s motto. Troy Camp counselors will always love each other and our kiddos regardless of whatever is or could be going on. That’s just what families do.
Now that all sounds fine and dandy, but you might be wondering how I came to the undeniable realization that Troy Camp is, truly, one big family. As I said, I was nervous during my first few TC events, but the adjustment to the weekly commitments of Troy Camp wasn’t the scary part. No, what really intimidated me was our first “kids’ event” of the year, meaning the first of our monthly events for the campers from the previous year. These were kids who had already met and connected with the older counselors at camp. They had already developed plenty of wonderful relationships. Who was I to come in and encroach on their world?
Of course, looking back, I now know that the kids are warm and welcoming toward everyone. But how was I to know that at the time? And so, I arrived at my first kids’ event mentally prepared for what I thought would be an extremely challenging situation. I was set to work with cabin G1, and I was, as per usual, exceedingly nervous. I got to 32nd Street’s grassy knoll and awaited the ten fourth-grade G1 girls with loaded anticipation.
Fast forward three months.
… You get the picture. From the moment I met them, these ten incredible girls and their equally incredible cabin counselors made me feel as if I had always been with them. I became part of their tribe, part of their crew, part of their family. How? Well to answer that, we have to go back to the brilliant words of the one and only Kid President. The reason I was accepted into this family, the reason everyone is accepted and cherished here, is simple. In the Troy Camp family, for kids and counselors alike, everybody is a somebody.