#ChiDoesGood: Lollipop Moments
Kyle Kolling is an assistant director at Camp Chi and has been at Chi since 2001. Kyle, who has a BA in Theatre Education from Illinois State University, was an SIT of 2009, SIT Staff in 2013, and joined the full-time team a the program coordinator in 2016.
There are many things that come together to create what we all know as “Camp Chi Magic.” No, there’s not something in the water, instead it’s a feeling that is created by the people, memories, the fun, and most importantly the little moments that create everlasting memories. At camp these little moments can come from anywhere, friends, counselors, SIT’s, or alumni. And although these moments may seem small in the moment, they can leave a lasting impact on all of our lives.
One of my personal favorite TED talks, Leading with Lollipops by Drew Dudley, calls these “lollipop moments.” These are the moments that can change your life forever, that leave a lasting impact, however, the people that had the impact rarely if ever know the life changing effect they had on our lives. Drew Dudley challenges us to think about these people, and to let them know how much that little moment meant to us. We celebrate so many things every year, but we somehow forget to thank the people that gave us these amazing and special lifetime memories.
I remember 20 years ago, my first summer, when I didn’t know any of the camp songs or prayers at camp, my counselor Ben sat next to me and taught me each song so that the second Shabbat not only was I ready to sing along, but I was able to be a part of the community. Thank you Ben.
I remember my second summer when my specialist Dave Teplinsky, or Papa Dave, convinced me to join a 4th of July performance of God Bless the USA, and gave me a solo. It was my first time ever singing in front of people, but standing in front of all of camp I felt like a rockstar. Years later this event would lead me to studying Theater Education in college. Thank you Dave.
I remember being in Chalutzim and having a terrible day. I had received a bad letter, and just didn’t want to participate in anything. Josh Teplinky, a counselor from another cabin sat next to me and we just talked about baseball, he told me that he would always be there if I needed anything else. This moment made me want to become a counselor myself, and now I am an Assistant Director at Camp Chi. Thank you Josh.
And I remember being in Habo when all I wanted was to go to a Chicago Bulls game with Chi Town Connection, but living in Des Plaines I had no way to get there. Michael Waitz, who at the Time was the CTC Advisor drove all the way to Des Plaines to pick me up to make sure that I could participate. This led me to my first full-time job at Chi running the teen programming. Thank you Waitz.
These are just a few of the thousands of moments that have stuck with me. I know that without my years as a camper at Camp Chi I would not be the person that I am today.
Now, Camp Chi, it’s your turn. While this has been a rough week for us, it’s time to show some gratitude for #ChiDoesGood. Who made a lasting impact on you at camp? Do they know the impact they had? We challenge you to tell the people that have made a difference in your life what that small moment has meant to you! This can be in a social media post, a text, a phone call, a letter, or any other way that you feel comfortable with! We may not be at Camp Chi this summer, but the Camp Chi Magic and the lifetime memories created there will keep the flame burning!