The Spirit Of The Dragon

(This blog post was originally given as a speech at the annual Tate’s Day Camp staff dinner)

Hello, my name is Mickayla Stogsdill, and I have been at Tate’s Day Camp for eleven years: seven years as a camper, two years as a Counselor in Training (CIT), and now two years as a camp counselor working with the five-year-old Dragonflies group.

Ten weeks ago, I could not imagine myself performing a speech like this in front of the entire staff. But there’s this boy that inspired me. His name is Jake.

One day this summer, Jake came up to me, tugged on my shorts, looked me dead in the eye and asked, “Miss Mickayla, do you want to know why I’m so cool?”

If you’ve worked with children, especially younger ones, you would know that you never know what kind of answer you’ll get. But in this case, I REALLY wanted to know what Jake’s answer would be.

So I replied, “Why Jake?”

He looked at me, squinted a little bit, and whispered, “Because I have the spirit of the dragon.” Then he ran away to play.

This simple statement stuck with me. I realized later that in order to enjoy AND survive all summer at camp, ALL counselors must also have the spirit of the dragon. There are more examples than I could say here, but I’ll try to cover the best ones.

If you ever cleaned the pond bathroom after it overflowed twice in a span of 3 hours, then you have the spirit of the dragon.

If you made velociraptor noises during swimming lessons, then you have the spirit of the dragon. (Shout out Grayson Goble!)

If you named every ant at the camp, then you have the spirit of the dragon.

If you waited on a five year old who refused to take ONE bite of an apple for 30 minutes, then you have the spirit of the dragon.

If you have smiled at the camp when arriving to clock in and regretted leaving the camp at the end of the day because you just really wanted to stay with your kids, then you have the spirit of the dragon.

If you got hit in the face with a dodge ball, then you have the spirit of the dragon.

If the biggest 5 year old EVER kicked you right in the crotch on the hillside slide, then you have the spirit of the dragon.

If you ever looked at your co-workers and thought, “You guys are the best.” then you have the spirit of the dragon.

If you ever asked yourself or others, “Would you rather sweat mayonnaise or poop a softball?” then you have the spirit of the dragon.

If you have done something and thought “this is for the kids, this is for the kids, THIS IS FOR THE KIDS!” then you have the spirit of the dragon.

If you got giddy over sniper dodgeball, skipped five weeks of worth of naptime to entertain one little boy, or ran the final gauntlet of Child versus Wild week, then you, too, have the spirit of the dragon.

If you ever watched a camper transform over 10 weeks, then you have the spirit of the dragon.

If you were ever yelled at by a five year old for taking away a piece of dirty tape, then you have the spirit of the dragon (Shout out Chris Kleinschmidt!).

If you have ever had to help wipe a kid’s bottom, then you have the spirit of the dragon (shout out to the Pandas and Koalas!)

If you survived a record breaking 92 Kid ECO, jumped in the pond and touched the bottom (gross!), or watched a three year old Panda girl dance to Beyonce’s, “Single Ladies” – You have the spirit of the dragon.

If you took care of sick me on last Friday of week ten, then you definitely have the spirit of the dragon (Shout out Mrs. Marianne!).

If you took a five year old boy to play world cup with the nine and ten year olds in the pouring rain, giving him the time of his life, then you have the spirit of the dragon (Shout out Jasmine!)

If you went CIT Hunting, encouraged a child to face their fear on the tower, or ate with the Welcome Center EVERYDAY, then you have the spirit of the dragon.

If you gave ice cold water to counselors in need, then you have the spirit of the dragon (Shout out Chris Strevel!)

If you took HUNDREDS of pictures all over camp, then you have the spirit of the dragon.

If you consider yourself a part of the Tate’s family, then you have the spirit of the dragon.

I have loved every single moment Tate’s has given me. I have a few big thank you’s to give out before I end my speech.

Thank you to my co-counselors: Desiree Hunter, Katrina Roberts, Sarah McKay, and Chris Kleinschmidt. You all are the bee’s knees. I love you all.

Thank you to the directors. You were with our group through the ups and downs, and I can’t thank you enough for your help. You are awesome.

Thank you to the people who were in direct contact with my group most days: lifeguards, other discovery counselors, art teachers, and nature instructors.

Thank you to the people who weren’t with the Dragonflies that much but still helped make Tate’s Day Camp the best it can be: RATT pack, explorer counselors, office workers, and the Welcome Center (we love you girls!).

I began my speech with a quote, and I will end with one too: “Since it is so likely children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.” – C.S. Lewis

I love you all. I hope everyone this summer found their shining armor and their own spirit of the dragon.

Thank you,

Mickayla

Tate's Camp
By | 2017-11-03T18:09:42+00:00 September 17th, 2014|Tates Camp|

Leave A Comment