Change: Challenge and Character

Change is a double-edged sword.

It can teach you lessons about yourself and those around you. It can lead to discovery or it can bring on heartbreak.

Change moves life from a static to a dynamic relationship; rather than waiting on things to happen, change takes the reins: There’s either forward movement with an open, curious mind or much grumbling and lamenting about “the way things used to be”.

Dependent on interpretation, even the least desirable changes in life can have positive implications.

It is the mindset of change -- not the actual change itself -- that we battle most. As is the case with most life events, change occurs uninvited. Good or bad, change happens.

It’s the way that we choose to internalize these changes that reveals pieces of our private selves: The challenge of change reveals character.

This year’s senior week camp was rife with changes.

Instead of a Thursday night talent show that often left campers bored enough to comment on Saturday morning evaluations that it was the least favorite evening activity, we brought in a guest musical performer.

Some veteran staff complained about the lack of the talent show; some even put campers up to asking for it to be in the schedule.

Dietary changes shook the dining lodge with new meal combinations for a group of people who had come to expect the same rotation of food each night the way they expected each evening’s friendship circle to end with “Taps”.

The tradition of singing for mail was streamlined to eliminate entire cabins coming up for the benefit of one person, a modification that helped immensely in keeping programming on schedule for the evening sessions when 14 singers (two nights in a row!) had to fit into a 10-minute chunk of time.

These were only a few of the simplest changes, but they revealed great insight into the character of each staff member.

Veteran staff (many of whom have come up through the ranks of campers to become staff members) delineated themselves into one of two categories: those with open minds who remained true to the job at hand -- making sure campers had a week full of memories to sustain them for a year; and those who personalized changes to the point of attempting to create panic and fury in others.

For all the moaning, groaning and gnashing of teeth, a review of end-of-week evaluations revealed a telling detail: As a whole, camp was again a roaring success.

Sure, some complained that there weren’t enough rest periods or that they didn’t like the Wednesday lunch taco salad, but several of the new menu items were met with great affinity.

And the musical presentation was the favorite event of a high percentage of campers.

Even better, most staff with complaints stepped beyond their discomfort to add professional details and constructive criticism for future consideration.

We're all forced at times to change in ways we don’t like, but maintaining an open mind during new experiences adjusts our minds from living in a state of fear and anger to creating an atmosphere where change can only challenge us to grow into a bigger, better, more beautiful version of ourselves.

Beth Morrow is a freelance author, educator and member of the Central Ohio Diabetes Association’s Youth Committee and Camp Leadership teams. She has served for 18 years as Senior Week program director for Camp Hamwi, a residential, age-based, week-long residential camp for diabetic youth. Reach her via e-mail at: