Midway through the week, the 6 foot tall, 16 year old boy, was asked to step down from his role
as a group leader and not return to camp. Was he devastated? Was he happy? Or did he use this
setback to introspect and plan his inevitable comeback. Kol returned to Africa Camp the next
summer in the same capacity. Buoyed by a second chance, another shot at being impactful in the
lives of the campers and additional opportunity to gain the respect of those who believed in him,
he did not disappoint.
His sins the previous year encircled indiscipline, a natural proclivity to shun responsibility and
the desire to operate as a trouble maker. You can imagine the magnitude of his actions to have
brought about the decision of his termination. Some would dare say, he caused more problems
than solving them. Africa Camp needs leaders dedicated to the campers, programming and
learning experiences. His commitment to that was questionable. However, it took 12 months, 1
day and 4 minutes for Kol to amass a respectable recovery.
He was attentive in sessions, gentle with the kids, firm when disciplining, dedicated when
instructed and comfortable with his role. It was almost like looking at a different individual. He
transitioned from being the trouble maker to being one of the best leaders at camp that year. His
campers looked at him with evident admiration and how quickly they moved when he asked
them to bewildered me. What happened in that year to change him will be kept a secret for now
but one thing is sure, his behavior embodied this quote I heard some years ago from my mother:
“Every set back leaves behind a path to make your comeback”.