It’s a familiar feeling—that mix of nervousness and excitement at the pit of your stomach. It comes out when something’s new, different and unfamiliar. Seven years ago, Spencer West, ME to WE motivational speaker, was gearing up for his very first day at Take Action Camp and realizing he was about to meet a busload of kids he didn’t know.
But he wouldn’t just be hanging with them around the bonfire and playing games, he would lead, inspire and help them transform their passions into the motivation to make a real difference in the world. It was Spencer’s first time as a camp facilitator and he was pretty nervous.
“As a new staff member, I was trying to figure out what to do and on top of that, I had just moved to a brand new city,” he said.
As the group of new campers stepped off the bus, Spencer felt a smile spread across his face. He could sense many of them were a bit nervous too, but he could already see their potential. This was a group of kids who were going to do something extraordinary.
“The minute I met the kids and started to get to know them, I instantly felt I could settle in and be myself,” said Spencer. “Camp is one of those really cool places that’s not only fun, but a safe place where everyone can be their true selves and talk about the things that really matter to them.”
Now, as he prepares for his return to camp this summer, Spencer knows it’s the still the exact same place he experienced. One where he met one of his best friends, made lasting memories and saw labels disappear. Kids on the soccer team were hanging with kids in the drama club—it was a place where everyone was on an equal playing field and shown real compassion.
“I’ll never forget when we did a talent show, a young girl started playing an instrument and suddenly stopped because she made a mistake. She was on the verge of tears and my heart broke for her, but suddenly, the entire group stood up and started clapping and gave her the encouragement to keep playing.”
And what’s one thing Spencer will always remember about camp?
“The food was soooo good there! When you hear ‘camp,’ you don’t think it’ll be good, but it’s amazing!”
Hang out with Spencer this summer when he returns to Take Action Camp for the first three weeks and learn about social justice and leadership from a real pro!