Jonah Grossman gave this very moving sermon last summer.
We are very proud of Jonah; he adds so much to our Camp Towanda Family.
We are excited for him to be a LIT this summer and a future counselor, giving back!
For those who don’t know me, I am Jonah Grossman and I am in the Club of 2016. It’s weird to think that 8 long, but very fast years ago, I was a Jet boy sitting all the way in the front of the Field House during Friday Night Services.
During my life at Camp Towanda, I have made so many strong relationships with people that I believe will never fade or go away. My family has been coming to Camp Towanda since the mid 90’s and ever since I visited my cousin in the Club of 2006, when my older brother was a Jet, I couldn’t wait to start coming here myself. When I first came to camp in 2009, as a Jet, from my first interactions with my bunkmates and counselors, I knew that camp would end up becoming my favorite place on Earth.
There are 3 ways I would use to describe my experience at Towanda. Those 3 ways are: comfort, happiness, and Family.
At camp, comfort is a very personal necessity. During the winter of 7th grade, I was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome and it was a very hard transition for my family and I. Tourette’s is a disease where I commit many so called “tics” and it can be very difficult to do certain activities.
One of the hardest parts about having a disease like this is having to tell the people you love. When I came to camp my National summer (when I was 13), it was difficult, but during Reflections, which we do in the bunk at night, in tears of nervousness, I told my group about my condition. My camp friends were the first people to know about it besides my family and it was a very emotional time for all of us. For me, I was very comfortable talking about this with my camp friends and it goes to show how important comfort is at a place as great as this.
Transitioning into Happiness, when I am at camp it is a very widespread feeling. There are many forms of happiness. If I were to explain the happiness I feel at camp, I would say that there is no stress involved.
At school, we all have to worry about a test or homework for the next day, but here at Towanda, I know that all I am doing is having fun with my best friends.
My camp friends are close and far away during the year. It’s difficult sometimes to see them. Camp is when we cherish the time we have together.
From summer to summer, my camp family has grown. Family can be made up of many more different people besides your relatives. Everyone of my 16 Club brothers are a family of mine that I would do anything for.
Growing up with all of them has made me the person I am today and I am so grateful to be able to spend my summers with my best friends.
At home, if you get in a fight with one of your friends, they can ignore your calls or texts, but if that happens here, you can’t have your Mom pick you up or ignore the person you’re arguing with for long; before you are forced to be with each other.
I’ve made many mistakes as a camper. I’ve made many mistakes as a person. No body’s perfect. I mean except for Brandon Reiter (LOL), but that’s not the point. All of my friends have done things we regret. But we are always there to pick each other back up when we fall.
One Club –One Brotherhood! That’s why our camp family is so important. To guide the ones that you love through their lives. I believe that’s what I have been experiencing here at camp. Becoming a better person and enjoying the time you have with your camp family.
The best and greatest advice I could give to a camper younger than me now is to enjoy the time you have left.
Don’t waste time fighting or acting upset about a certain activity, because when you take little things like that for granted, your time here at camp will slip away from right under you.
When you’re sitting in school taking a test, you’ll be sorry you got upset about that one activity that wasn’t enjoyable.This is the best advice I could give because shortly, my time will come when I am not a camper anymore.
I’m dreading the moment where I have to say goodbye because that will be a very upsetting time for me. If any of you new campers out there ever get homesick, take a second to realize how long you are here for. Make every moment count.
I’d like to thank everyone who has made my camp experience something that will impact my entire life.
Thank you all for letting me share my story with you.