For me, Camp Manitou is a place like no other. In some way, shape, or form, Manitou goes through my mind at least once a day. Whether I am putting on my Manitou sweatshirt in the morning, texting or snapchatting bunkmates that I’ve known since I was nine years old, or listening to the radio and thinking about how I could change the words for my college league team, Manitou is always on my mind.
My name is Hank Katz and I am going into my 11th summer at camp, my third as a counselor. Since last summer, I have started college at the University of Pennsylvania, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I am originally from Lower Merion, Pennsylvania where I attended The Shipley School for fourteen years. My brother Josh, who is 5 years older than me, was a camper and counselor at Manitou from 2006 to 2017, and my cousins Miles and Elijah Sheft are both Manitou alums.
But enough about me… One of the best parts about camp, in my opinion, is College League. College League is one of, if not the biggest activity during the summer where all of the campers and staff are split into 4 teams, each named after a college or university. Each of these four teams is led by one counselor called the ‘dean.’ I started at camp in 2010 when I was 9 years old. That year I was a part of the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. In my last summer as a camper, as a CIT, I was a part of the winning Villanova Wildcats led by Josh Katz (my brother). College League taught me how to handle both winning and losing in the classiest way possible, but also brought me closer to campers in counselors throughout the Manitou community. As I get ready to come to camp for my 11th summer, I cannot help but feel anything except for great excitement.
I am so grateful for the many lessons I have learned at Manitou and the confidence camp has given me to step outside of my comfort zone socially and at school. It is the relationships I formed at camp with former campers and counselors such as Garrett Schwartz, Daniel Stern, and Mike Karon that formed the person I am today and who have shown me what I am capable of.
My message to all of the new counselors to camp is to try your best to affect your campers like the many counselors who have helped shape my character. If nothing else, your goal for the summer should be to form strong bonds with your campers.
Former Manitou staff member Javon Isaac shares how volunteering for Experience Camps changed his perception about how he cares for kids and also how meaningful the program is to him.
The Mighty, a website devoted to assisting people with health challenges and disabilities, posted an article listing 21 things the author learned about mental health while working at camp.
A University of Utah student who is a research assistant for the American Camp Association shared results of a study she conducted with summer camp teens. Her findings related to a summer camp’s “no cell phone” policies might surprise you.
Experience Camps is recruiting volunteers
Do you have post-summer plans? Click here to learn more about volunteering at Experience Camps.