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  • Writer's pictureNeal Hagberg

On Giving: #1

It all started with a hairbrush.

Tuesday, two sister campers came up to me with a problem.  They had forgotten their hairbrush at home.  I said, “Well, I just run my fingers through my hair.  Try that.”  When I saw their faces and realized that my sense of humor is not shared by all, I quickly back tracked and assured the girls that we did not expect them to use their fingers as a comb.  They breathed a sigh of relief, and I asked them if they had checked the campus store.  They, indeed, had.  Proving, once again, that most people are one step ahead of me.

I was wracking my brain wondering where we could get these girls a hairbrush and asked who their dorm counselor was. (My motto is: when in doubt, find the dorm counselor).  They both smiled and said “Calleigh.”  At that very moment, as if pre-ordained, Calleigh Carlson came walking towards us from teaching a court.

As she approached, I said, “These girls don’t have a hair brush for camp.”  Calleigh said, “Yes, they do.”  I must have looked confused until Cal reached into her back pack and handed them a brand new brush.  Which she had gone to get at the store downtown on her off time.

Our first year instructors do not make a lot of money.  And they get very little time off.  But Cal saw a need and knew she could fill it.  And the smiles on the girls’ faces said it all.  What a gift.


Then yesterday, we had rain that threatened our ability to play outside.  It was at the perfect wrong moment for this to happen as we did not have staff to cover.  Jon Carlson, the Gustavus Women’s Tennis Coach and TLC supervisor, was out there by himself as I went out to Rol-Dri the courts.  It was his time off.  I said, “Jon, go home and take your break.”  He said, “You can’t make me.”  I asked him again to get his time off, and he said, “It’s not about the hours, it’s about the job.”  He was giving to the campers and staff a gift they didn’t even know about and never would.  As I Rol-Dried beside him, I realized that as camp director I often have to do these things, but being beside Jon made me realize “I want to do this”, not “I have to do this.”  And that makes all the difference.  What a gift.


Jon is Calleigh’s dad.

What a gift.


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