Summer Programs in Parent News: Student Perspective

A recent issue of Mercersburg Academy's Parent News featured a faculty and student perspective on the benefits of Mercersburg Summer Programs. Below is the student perspective, written by Thomas Vickery (Mercersburg Academy Class of 2018), who was a former Mercersburg Adventure Camper and current Adventure Camp Counselor. 

Student Voice: Summers at Mercersburg
by Thomas Vickery '18

I rolled out of bed to the sound of Queen blaring on a speaker. It was the universal camp signal for everyone to get up and prepare themselves for the day. For me, this involved taking a quick shower, getting dressed, brushing my teeth (required by my counselors), and sitting at the end of the hallway. Waiting for the announcement of where we were going adventuring that day, I thought about our late-night conversations from the previous evening. It was the second day, and I already knew my roommates and their backgrounds, even if they were from different countries. But my roommates weren't even the most foreign parts of the experience for me—I actually ate green beans last night at dinner! Such is a day at camp. With adventure and engagement, Mercersburg Adventure Camp filled my summers with fun for seven years.

As much fun as I was having, I realize now that my experiences at camp also helped prepare me for three years of boarding school. First, these experiences facilitated social interaction between my fellow campers and me. On the first day, things would always be awkward, but by playing name games and other games designed to foster trust, it became much easier to have fun and build meaningful relationships. This carried over to Mercersburg because the start of school is a lot like the start of camp. You don’t really know anybody all that well, and you’re nervous about leaving your parents, whether it be for two weeks or for an entire school year. Having the confidence of going through the getting-to-know-you process at camp certainly helped me a lot.

Another aspect of camp that carried over to boarding school was self-management. At camp, we were expected to make our beds and have generally clean rooms. If we didn’t, we would fail room checks, which would cause us to lose dessert privileges. However, at boarding school, you aren’t just keeping yourself tidy for your own piece-of-mind, you’re doing it out of respect for your roommate. Nobody likes having a messy room, and if you can come prepared with experience at hand, your roommate and parents will be pleased.

The final lesson I took from my camp experience was that I could and needed to expand my comfort zone in order to thrive. At camp, you take risks and try new things with a safety net of knowing that if you fail, only you will remember, and the counselors will always be there to help you. Once you get to high school, however, that safety net slowly shrinks away, forcing you to have confidence in yourself. If you already have built up confidence in yourself from having tried and failed things before, it can make high school much easier.

I would definitely recommend Mercersburg Summer Programs because I gained such valuable experiences there.
    • Thomas Vickery '18

    • Thomas poses with his sister, Cate Vickery '22 and counselor Ryan Klaff '16

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