With the start of school right around the corner, kids are tucking away their bathing suits and camp trunks and replacing them with a new back-to-school outfit and fresh notebooks. The lessons learned throughout the summer are irreplaceable, however, and many Kanakuk Kampers find that attending summer camp has helped prepare them for school.
Graham Shuler attended Kanakuk Kamps for eight years. He was a Kamper at K-Kountry, K-1 and K-2. This fall, Graham is attending Stanford University. He believes that attending Kanakuk Kamps helped him prepare for college. Here are a few things he shared with us:
Describe how attending summer camp has helped you prepare for college.
Kanakuk Kamps prepared me for college by taking me out of my familiar home environment and placing me in a place with all new faces. Attending Kamp and being away from home was a major learning lesson for me. I was a homebody while growing up, so being away for a two-week Kamp term felt like a big deal. Though experiences at Kanakuk were initially somewhat of a culture shock, Kamp ultimately prepared me for the ultimate shock and transition of attending college.
Similar to college, time at Kanakuk Kamps is one of the few instances in life where you interact with other people who are experiencing the same thing as you. At Kamp, we share the same schedule, the same Kabin, the same way of life. For a two-week period in the summer, we are walking the same path together. In college, we all transition into a new way of life together too. My classmates and I move in at the same time, we’re taking college classes together for the first time. Attending Kanakuk helped me prepare for that transition.
Kanakuk Kamps also helped me with some little things that I didn’t necessarily think would come in handy. For instance, Kamp taught me how to make a twin-size bed – the right way. Kamp taught me to manage my amount of clean and dirty clothes. Kamp also taught me to bring and utilize what is necessary and to not have extra “things.”
Most importantly, Kanakuk helped me transition to college by teaching me that I have a strong Christian base to my way of life. Kanakuk was a safe place for me to grow in my walk and Kamp equipped me with tools to use as I embark on my journey to school at Stanford University.
What are some of the activities you participated in at Kanakuk that helped you prepare for college?
I benefitted greatly from all of the small group activities that I participated in at Kamp. Competitive sports and tribal activities helped construct my views on competition and loyalty. I learned that being competitive is great, but handling yourself the right way, whether winning or losing, is even more important. Kanakuk taught me how to handle myself the right way, and many of the activities that I participated in have helped me within the college environment. In fact, being involved in many of those Kamp activities encouraged me to get involved in student organizations on Stanford’s campus.
Those activities have helped me in the college environment and encouraged me to get involved on Stanford’s campus.
Who are some of the role models you met through Kanakuk that helped you prepare for college? How did they help you prepare for the new chapter in your life?
At Kanakuk, I learned to appreciate the importance of mentors in my life. Joe White had a major influence on me. I have known him for a long time and I respect his competitive nature coupled with his compassion and grace.
Each of my counselors was also very influential in my life. Travis Warren really looked out for me, and we still keep in touch. He still sends me encouraging messages on Facebook, prays for me and is a great friend. My counselors were always honest about what college would be like, including the temptations and challenges that students would face, especially as a Christian. The perspectives they shared help me prepare for the university and anticipate what to expect as I enter this new chapter in life.
How do you think Kanakuk will prepare you for the real world and life beyond high school?
Kanakuk taught me so much of my faith and how I need to cling on to it no matter where I am in life. The ties and bonds that I made through Kanakuk will always link me to a community of support that I would not necessarily have if I had not attended Kamp. Kanakuk has also prepared me and taught me to accept the challenges will continue to face me in life. Despite any of those challenges that may come my way, I can rest assured knowing that there are other great men and women who are striving for the same life that I am striving for.
What would you say to someone (a fellow camper, a parent) who is considering attending/sending his or her child to summer camp?
I was so privileged to experience an incredible opportunity like Kanakuk. Some of my best memories in my life come from my time at Kamp. I still have so many friends from Kamp and we all check in on each other. The experience from Kanakuk is unmatched by any other experience I’ve had and I would strongly encourage anyone who can to attend Kanakuk Kamps.
What is the biggest life lesson you learned from attending Kanakuk Kamps?
Kanakuk taught me how to interact with other people no matter where they come from. Kanakuk also taught me how to treat women respectfully. I learned so much from my experience at Kamp, but the biggest lesson that Kanakuk taught me is that it is fun to be a Christian kid, teenager and adult. There are many misconceptions about Christianity and perhaps the idea that Christians abstain from fun. However, my time at Kamp, at K-Life and during all the fun Kamp activities provided me more fun than anything else I’ve done in my life. Kamp has taught me how to value my faith in God, in others and in myself.
Now that Graham has shared his story, it’s your turn! How has Kanakuk helped prepare you for college?