We recently received the following post in an email from long time campers Cindy and Larry Denbaum who came to Camp Common Ground for 10 years with their children Stacy and Eric. Although they haven’t been to camp for a few years, we loved reading about how much Eric’s experience at Common Ground Center influenced his outlook on life. Thanks for sharing Cindy and Larry!
From Cindy and Larry: Over the years, Camp Common Ground has been on our minds and in our hearts. We still plan on returning one of these years. Our entire family has such great memories from our 10 summers at CCG. I'm sure you wouldn't recognize Eric or Stacy as they are now grown teens. We wanted to share with you Eric's response to the following supplemental essay question needed for early decision entrance into Colgate University next fall. The topic is diversity/tradition and although Eric is a diverse person, there's not much diversity where we live in Syosset on Long Island or where Eric spent his recent summers at sleep-away camp in Upstate NY. Larry and I felt Camp Common Ground provided the key to a great essay topic.
The Essay Question: Please use this brief essay to help us get to know you beyond what is defined in your scholastic and extracurricular record. In 250 words or less, please respond to the following:
We honor the many different forms of diversity in our community. Your perspective is valuable because it comes from your life experiences, family background, culture, and traditions. Please tell us about a tradition that is important to you that comes from your family, community, or culture.
Eric’s Response: Camp Common Ground
We’re off to “Camp Kitchi-Gumi!” For ten consecutive years, this was the phrase my parents chanted that got me excited as my family drove to Vermont to spend a week at a unique family camp. Campers from all over the world were multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multigenerational and represented all socioeconomic classes and lifestyles. Camp Common Ground brought diverse people together to form a homogenous community and within minutes of arriving, a strong bond was created. There, I experienced things that many children from suburbia never get exposed to. The diversity of people and acceptance were far greater than in my own community. Camp Common Ground had a profound impact on my life and the way I view diversity.
The warm, multifaceted environment gave me confidence to explore my creative talents and gain new skills. There were unusual, non-competitive, multi-age activities such as African dance, music lessons culminating in performances and community service requirements to help build character. Whatever new things I tried were accepted without judgment. For example, I took cello lessons for the first time and performed in a mini-concert. I look forward to continuing to share and learn with friends of varied backgrounds.
As the camp name implies, we all have something in common which ties us together. While visiting Colgate, I felt a similar connection and greatly appreciate the diversity Colgate students offer coming from a variety of cultures, religions, races, traditions, and beliefs. My decision to apply early is based on Colgate’s liberal arts offerings which include a diverse core curriculum, array of extracurricular activities, and international opportunities to further broaden my education.
An Update: Eric was just accepted early decision into Colgate. Congrats! The Denbaum family wishes to thank Jim, Peg, and Common Ground Center – “I can't help but feel they were an integral part of Eric being accepted there!!!!”
Perhaps this might inspire some of the essay writers in your family….