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  • Writer's pictureNeal Hagberg

It Happened Again, And Again. And Again…

Last night, our second junior camp of the week, we were closing the opening program in the dorm.  I looked out at the campers and gave the announcements of the expectations of being a camper at TLC.  I had finished, or thought I had finished, when I said aloud to myself, “What am I forgetting?”  (You would think I would just create a check list I pull out each time.  But you would be wrong).

A voice in the front row said, “Pick up the garbage…”.  I looked at Sophie and said, “How did you know?”  She said, “I read your last blog about it.”

My first response was, “You read my blog???”

That blog was about when I had forgotten to say something, and a mess was left, and one camper stayed behind and quietly picked up all the garbage with me.

My second response was, “Thank you, Sophie.”  She just saved me a ton of work.  Or maybe both of us.

I dismissed the campers to go upstairs and meet with their dorm counselors.  Then I started taking the equipment down and stacking chairs.  That’s when I heard, “Neal, we found a wallet.  There’s nothing in it except money. There’s a lot.”  It was two eleven-year old girls.  They walked it over and handed it to me.  In it was, for a kid, a LOT of money, a whole camp’s allowance to buy shoes or clothing…

It was Emmy and Abby.  Not needing congratulations.  No sense that they did something extraordinary.  Just, this is what they do.

This morning I announced the find and asked if someone had lost a wallet.  A young boy’s hand went up in the back row.  Sheepish.  But mostly relieved and overjoyed.

I told the campers what had happened and how the girls came forward, even though they saw all the money in it.

And, without asking them to, the whole place started clapping.

Then, this afternoon, a boy who was already struggling with self-esteem double-faulted three points in a row in our doubles tournament.  His partner went back and encouraged him each point, giving zero sign of frustration or condescension.

When he got to Love-40, his opponent, quietly, but kindly said, “You got this, John.”  But John didn’t “got this”.  He double-faulted a fourth time to end the game and match and hung his head.  But his teammate walked straight over to him to give him a high five and say something kind.  And his opponent walked to the net and extended a hand in friendship, not just sportsmanship.  He knew John was sad and embarrassed, but he looked him in the eye and said “I enjoyed playing with you.”  And meant it.

Something about the Three Crowns • Positive Attitude • Full Effort • Good Sportsmanship℠ gets inside you, makes those around you want to reach out to others, acknowledge them, thank them.

And then makes you want to do the same.

Which is why it happened again.  And again.  And again….

I want to be the next “again”…


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