by Scott Galst, former BYSC Volunteer and BLC Alumni
I attended Brant Lake Camp as a child and worked as a counselor when I was a teenager. It was a special place where many of my greatest childhood memories were created. I’d like to think I knew at the time how lucky I was to be there every summer, but like most kids, I was too caught up in the fun I was having, and just too young and immature, to fully understand. I loved it, but did not fully appreciate how fortunate I was. I do now!
I’ve volunteered for BYSC in the past and have always enjoyed working and mentoring kids, but despite that and the many summers of my youth spent at Brant Lake, I was still surprised and delighted by my recent experience. I gained a whole new perspective when I joined Backyard Sports there this past August with kids from NewFlex Youth Programs and the Youth Shelter of Westchester in Mount Vernon. It had an impact that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Seeing the joy of young men who got to use facilities or experience something they normally would not have access to, sharpened my appreciation beyond what I was capable of as a camper. But my biggest takeaway was the power of community. While the activities were largely centered around sports, it was the opportunity to get to know each of the kids beyond the court and athletic fields – and watching them get to know each other – that I enjoyed most.
I have no doubt that through this experience I learned more than the kids could possibly have learned from me: primarily about the power of opportunity and that all kids should have the chance to express and enjoy themselves freely. Brant Lake Camp is a place to do that, and to create lasting memories. I feel every boy went home with memories from camp they will not soon forget. I know I did.