by Hannah Patterson
Today I sat down with Will Shelton, Boys Camp Coordinator. Or more accurately, I looked to the right of my desk where he sits at his desk. I decided today was a good day for you to get to know your Boys Camp Coordinator better, especially as summer and Volunteer Weekend rapidly approach. So, over the top of a few phones and computers, I asked Will these questions.
Tell us about yourself. Where are you from, how did you come to Miniwanca, what do you do in the organization now?
I grew up in Stanhope, IA, a small town north of Des Moines. I’m a second generation camper. My mom previously was a Miniwanca camper and a full time staff member at Merrowvista. I started coming to camp in 1998. I was a camper for 3 years, and then made the transition to staff starting in 2001. I was a staff member for 4 summers, took a break and then returned to Miniwanca in 2007 for another summer. After that I enjoyed working in the camping industry in the Midwest until 2014, when I took a full time job at Miniwanca as the Boys Camp Coordinator.
What do you love most about working at Miniwanca?
I love the opportunity to live and work with wonderful people and give back to a wonderful community that’s given so much to me.
Speaking of giving, we have a cool program coming up this weekend.
We are celebrating our annual Volunteer Weekend with the largest ever collection of alumni, families and supporters. It’s one of my personal favorite programs of the year, which is why I volunteered to help coordinate it. We will accomplish an incredible amount of work in a short time period. I personally enjoy, especially in the spring, having a group of alumni back at Miniwanca. It feels like we’re waking the site up for all of the amazing programs that will happen throughout the spring, summer and fall. I especially love the look of joy on their faces as they reconnect with places that mean so much to them. That makes it incredibly special.
I’ve heard you say before, “Boys Camp is the coolest.” What makes Boys Camp so cool?
What I love about Boys Camp is that we really practice the idea of best self, balanced living and positive community. All boys are valued and get a chance to explore who they are as a young man, and everyone around them is part of the experience, and has a part in making it awesome. Plus we yell, scream and play incredibly awesome games.
What do you think is the quintessential experience in Boys Camp that shows demonstrates how they are all a part of making the experience awesome for each other?
The best example of that is Wish Day, where we spend a day as an entire community making everyone’s wishes come true. Every community member gets one wish, and all devote themselves to helping make the wishes come true.
What is your favorite place at Miniwanca?
My favorite place at Miniwanca is the Boys Camp Council Circle because it’s the gathering point for our community. All of our stories either begin or end at council circle. We’re there for announcements, songs, all-camp games. We’re there for fun times and serious times. Council circle is the heart of Boys Camp.