In 2002, I returned to Camp Copneconic’s 6th grade camp program as a volunteer high school camp counselor. For 5 days of crisp, Michigan October days, we were free from school and led small groups of 6th graders to and from their camp classes.
On the cusp of graduating and “starting my life,” I was in total awe of the working camp counselors (the educators). They were out in the woods teaching survival skills, guiding rope courses, leading canoe trips around the lake, facilitating goofy olympics, and generally making a career out of doing really fun things. We didn’t see them as “teachers,” but like super cool older brothers and sisters.
To me, these guys had it figured out.
They had it made.
I figured their job didn’t pay extraordinarily well, but they were having fun. Bonus, they had everything they needed. They lived at camp—complete with a full cafeteria and other people who did the dishes. What could be better? I wanted to be them.
On our last night, were free from our counseling duties and hung out with the working counselors. Around the campfire, I was hanging onto every word in the stories these counselors shared of their lives and adventures—practically starstruck.
“We smuggled chicken into Mexico.” John said.
“What?!” we all responded said.
“Yeah, we slit the seats open on a school bus and stuffed them with chicken to take to hungry people in Mexico.”
I don’t remember anything else from that night. I don’t even remember the counselor’s real name, but John sounds like a good fit. I just remember the feeling in my soul when I heard his adventure.
I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew I wanted to do something that mattered. The thought of living out purpose and giving meaningful service lit 🔥 me up.
When I feel like the work I’m doing isn’t moving and growing as fast as I’d like or that it isn’t enough, I return to this story.
I return to why I started.
Try it. Remember why you started.
You probably have more than one tiny story like this. You probably have lots of little breadcrumb stories that prompted you into begin living out your own purposes.
Remember why you started. Write the stories. Share them. Use the way those stories make you feel to keep going.
P.S. Can you see how this story was a breadcrumb to my “Masse Mountain” Life-Brand?
Mornin’ 🙂 That camp life spoke to me as a kid. I just didn’t notice it until late in my 20’s.