1929469_13361866897_2272_nOne of our district’s hallmark programs is our 7th grade Camp Tecumseh field trip where we take the entire 7th grade to Camp Tecumseh for 2-nights and 3-days.  This outdoor education program is everything that is good about education.  The program breaks the chains that is the factory school model and merges outdoor experience, academic expectations, and, most importantly, mentoring by high school role models to junior high students that desperately need a guiding light through the teen years.  Over the years our tradition has grown so much that it is easier to get into an Ivy League school than become a FJH Tecumseh counselor (we normally take less than 30% of those that request an interview).

1929469_13246946897_3955_nIn this post, I would like to publicly thank the 500 high school counselors that I have worked with over the past 16 years.  I assumed the role of co-director in my second year of teaching at Hamilton Southeastern Junior High and just completed my 16th camp in April.  Camp would not exist without these role model counselors that show my junior high kids that you can be smart (we have a grade requirement), have fun, and still be “cool”.

26853_389977941897_3824272_nThey have taught the lessons and found a way to encourage their young charges to do their work.  Completing the work is not always fun, but my counselors have tried their best every year to make education a focus during the working hours.

1929469_13358116897_6299_nThey have taken every challenge to ensure that every kid is able to enjoy Camp.  Chris’ counselor was Cody Marks who did not let the fact that Chris was in a wheel chair slow his group down.  Chris loved the Black Hole and Cody would put him on the sled and send him down and then he went to the bottom of the hill and carried him back up to go again (one of my favorite counselor stories to tell others why my high school counselors are so special).  In Cody’s group was a 7th grade student named Jake Teitgen who would become the same kind of big hearted counselor 3 years later.

1929598_545937559697_6268_nTony and I have said goodbye to so many terrific senior counselors; the counselor meeting before the breakfast meal on Wednesday and Friday is a scene of many an ugly cry.  It is in that time that we tell these terrific world changers how important they are to the district, our kids, and to us.  After 32 goodbyes you would think my heart would harden against the goodbyes, but it has never gotten easier.  I have so much love and appreciation for what these kids do and go through to be a counselor.  Also, it is a hard day for the senior counselors as it ends their time as a counselor (an experience that they can best explain and maybe some of them will in the comments).

1929506_543210878937_2486_nSo to all you “tough” counselors; thank you!

207229_1007577987352_6138_nTo all you “J.C. Penny’s”; thank you?

205707_1007578147356_7157_nTo all you ‘Movie Theatre” performers (my favorite skit); thank you.

26853_390029466897_602861_nTo all you who visited the “Doctor’s Office”; thank you.

26853_390028166897_6651172_nTo all you that inspired dancers; thank you.

1929469_13361466897_8835_nTo all you who have been “pudding” face or hands; thank you.

1929469_13366481897_6734_nTo all you that inspire 7th graders to want to be counselors; thank you.

IMG_2122To all of you that led “YouTube Karaoke” when 6 inches of rain fell; thank you.

1929902_525843553414_9656_nTo all of you that made Camp Tecumseh a great experience for so many terrific 7th graders; thank you.