In this day and age, it’s hard to imagine a place where kids don’t have cell phones, iPads or other electronic devices as an extension of their limbs. At Incarnation Camp, people engage with one another in a safe, warm, and loving environment where they grow to love themselves and respect others. “Kids learn that they don’t need that stuff,” said Tom Secor. “They relate to the people they’re with and leave their families behind who will still love them when they return.”
Tom attended Incarnation Camp from the age of seven through fifteen – 1977-1990 – in Colony, Reservation, Frontier and Pioneer Village. He returned as a CA in Colony and a counselor in both Colony and Reservation, while in college.
Attending Incarnation is a family affair. His brother went there and now his two nieces go there. “When you’re with family, your self-worth is validated all the time. Camp was a place where adult supervision is not as constant as it is at home or in the classroom,” Tom observed. “I had a lot of freedom and got to know myself.”
Growing up in New York City, it was critical for him to get away during the summer. “Incarnation defined my childhood. I was very shy and awkward and over time became more extroverted and socially engaged.” He also underwent physical changes. “I learned to canoe and I enjoy doing that to this day. I learned to make a fire and how to set up a tent, swim and many other sports. It’s where I grew as a human being and to think more abstractly. For me, problem solving skills became more tangible and I use those skills in my professional life.”
His father is an Episcopalian minister in Harlem, and that is yet another common denominator with Incarnation. Yet, despite the fact that most of kids were from solid middle class homes, no one was defined by their economic or ethnic backgrounds. “One of the most critical things I learned was that one could have relationships with all kinds of people and you were judged only by the kind of human being you are.”
Tom has served on Incarnation’s board from 2008 until the present. He currently works at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, for Liberty Harbor, a credit-focused hedge fund.