Friday Night Fireside with Spencer West

HERE is a link to a presentation from Spencer West, but first, read on…

Every Friday night Manitou gathers together at Fireside, a special and tranquil place in camp. Fireside is the place where we reflect on all of the aspects that make our camp community so incredibly special. The tone is set each Friday night for the week, allowing all of us as one united community to feel gratitude for our summer experience together.

Every week we honor campers who have stood out within camp as the ultimate positive role models as they uphold the Manitou values and standards. These campers are a combination of ones who have grown up here as well as first time campers. We celebrate these campers for their kindness, courage and empathy.

This week, following our candle ceremony, the Senior units talked about our summer theme ‘redefining possible’.   One courageous camper discussed his personal challenge with the medical condition Tourette’s. He said, “I managed to overcome thanks to the support for me, redefining possible wasn’t something I achieved, it was thanks to everyone that I knew.”

Another camper spoke about Fear being something that you choose. There is the F-E-A-R, which is ‘Forget Everything And Run’ or F-E-A-R which is ‘Face Everything And Rise’. He used F-E-A-R to discuss our fundraising efforts this summer and the support that we would be providing by raising money for the ‘Amani Home’ in Tazania.

Next we spoke about a child who has been helped by the ‘Amani Home’. Holding up the picture of this 8-year old girl really made it clear for all of Manitou how this charity saved her, and others like her, from a life on the streets. Manitou campers clearly understand how they can make a difference in the world by helping out others less fortunate than themselves.

Spencer West joined our Fireside and spoke to us about ‘Redefining Possible.’ This was something we have been trying to get Spencer to do for years. Spencer started speaking eight years ago for ‘Me to We’ / ‘Free the Children’ but he has never spoken to a camp before. Spencer has no legs and was told that he would never be able to take care of himself or lead a life with purpose. He climbed Mt Kilimanjaro and raised over $500,000 defying the odds and redefining possible. His story was truly inspirational. He did say that climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro was something he would never do again, yet something that changed his life forever.   But what was most interesting was hearing that it was his support system that has allowed him to live such a fulfilling life; this echoed what our camper said earlier.

The Senior unit wrapped up Fireside with a beautiful song about making a difference in the world. In keeping with Fireside tradition, we read our special Manitou Poem and then ended with our wonderful Camp Song.

You can sense the positive energy around camp as we wrap up Community Week and enter our last week of our 2016 summer. Everyone seems to be taking advantage of every moment left at camp this summer. It is also apparent that Spencer West’s words, our goal of raising $10,000 for the Amani home, and campers redefining their possible has giving the strength to our Manitou community to make their summer end on a positive note. Having perspective, and taking stalk of how fortunate we are, allows our community to simply be better human beings.

HERE is a link to a presentation from Spencer West

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