My summers at Incarnation were the best two months I could ever imagine spending anywhere. The idea of not being there for a summer is an awful thing to think about. I was able to grow up and learn to deal with responsibility.” Phil began attending camp from age eight and has gone back every summer. His brother went there before him. “A lot of things that matter in the real world don’t matter in camp. Everyone is comfortable here. I was able to be on an equal plane with kids I never would have met. Boundaries aren’t apparent to the kids.”
Kids come from all walks of life and there isn’t any elitism. “The close quarters are intense and we lived in the same tents in the woods. It can be difficult, but everyone cooperates. They benefited from me and I benefited tremendously without constraints of economics and class.” The better part of Phil’s friends are from the camp. Some of his counselors were from England and he traveled there to visit them. “There is a sense of family and it’s easy to fit in. There are countless examples of people who ultimately married people with whom they attended camp.”
For many counselors, it is their first job, as it was for Phil. “Kids who were my campers are now working for me. I saw the continuity of watching them grow and I grew with them.” Phil derives a great deal of satisfaction from seeing the evolution of the camp. “The camp has changed and improved a great deal since I first attended. Last year was a highlight and I have an incredible sense of ownership. I plan to give back in productive ways.” He may pursue teaching or working at camp full time.
Phil is graduating from New York University this month and majored in political science and Middle East studies.