It was in between the lacrosse, baseball, soccer and swimming… sometime outside of the swimming, skiing and sailing… after tennis, football and golf... some powerful moments which we hope translate into making the world a better place.
Fast forward to this evening’s Spirit Night. That’s when we gather as one big family, in an evening of gratitude and camaraderie. It’s a traditional night, with camp songs, a prayer for our country, a story about an athletic hero, and a “sermonette” given by a counselor. Tonight’s sermonette was unforgettable and brought tears to the eyes of the strongest man. It was the story of Marcus Josey.
Marcus is a first-year counselor, who is already adored by all. He has an especially warm, thoughtful demeanor, and as a member of the Gettysburg College Football team, does a fantastic job of teaching the boys. What nobody knew except for the staff and his Bunk 22 is that Marcus has Leukemia.
He shared with all how he devoted himself to football, and ultimately achieved his dream of being a recruited player by Harvard University. Simultaneously his world crumbled with the diagnosis of Leukemia at age 17. On top of that he has a debilitating bone disease called Avascular Necrosis, and it’s a miracle that he’s able to walk and run today. To see our Marcus in person you would never know the pain he suffers.
“Don’t go through pain without a purpose”, is Marcus’s motto. His purpose was, and still is, to help others. He raises awareness and funds for those who will benefit from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and has forged numerous relationships with those in similar circumstances. In fact, The Philadelphia Eagles made a video about him and a seven-year-old friend:
How blessed we are to have Marcus on staff. He inspires and reminds us that it really is “cool to care”.
Our annual Cool2Care kickoff was just a few days ago. The Skylemar-only program includes the Cool2Care Cooler, where kids submit stories about those who demonstrate kindness. Camp was introduced to Chris Conlon, a triathlete/actor who suffered a stroke and now has Aphasia. Chris taught us what the word Aphasia means (when the brain works but speaking is extremely difficult) and demonstrated his motto to “never give up”. He sure never did, as he completed the Ironman competition of 2.4 miles swimming, 122 biking plus a full marathon run.
The presentation by Matt Hoidal, Director of “World of Change” was impactful as well. That’s the charity we support which collects loose change and turns it into practical things for children in need (i.e. housing food). 70+ Skylemar campers remembered to bring their Cool2Care water bottle filled with money, and we gave change to those who had forgotten. Quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies happily clanged when poured into the giant soup pot. The good news is it was too heavy to carry.
If you’d like to donate in honor of your son’s commitment to caring for himself and others, please consider...
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (lls.org)
The League for People with Disabilities SCALE Program (leagueforpeople.org)
World of Change (worldofchange.world)