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Alumni Spotlight: Get to know Marco

Hi Camp Kesem!

My name is Marco, and I am a CIT alumni counselor returning for my fifth year with Camp Kesem this summer. My real name is Marc…I know what you’re thinking…how did he come up with such an imaginative camp name?! Well, I was once part of the dynamic duo known as Marco Polo—whenever a camper would scream “Marco!”, no matter where he was or what he was doing, Polo would have to respond with an even louder, “Polo!” If a camper yelled “Polo!”, then no matter where he was or what he was doing…I think you get the idea. Lo483130_10152140859270008_561589363_nng story short, we lost Polo somewhere along the way, but the damage was done, and the name stuck. So for one week each summer for the past four years, I have endured this game (with no other purpose than to annoy counselors, and played incorrectly, by the way)…but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

In a strange way, this game helps define Camp Kesem for me. Camp Kesem is intended to be a week full of mindless summer fun for kids who may not otherwise have the opportunity—what better way to forget about all tough things going on at home than to spend a couple hours trying to annoy one of your counselors with a silly name game?

I was pulled into Camp Kesem by a friend looking for an extra male counselor for the first year of this new student-run summer camp on campus. Not knowing what I was getting into at first, CKUW became a highlight of my college career and has changed my life forever, even reaching into my professional career. I graduated in May 2013 with a Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering and am now working as a development engineer in the Twin Cities. Somehow, five years after being introduced to Camp Kesem, its influence is still profound and I now have the opportunity to return for yet another summer.

As a CIT counselor this summer, I have the opportunity to work with some of our most experienced campers who have graduated from being campers to be new counselors in training. We will be working with these soon-to-be counselors and helping them learn the ins and outs of being a Camp Kesem counselor—they already know how to play all the games and sing the songs, so we’ll be focusing on building leadership skills and teaching them all the skills we learn during pre-camp counselor training.  They are the future of CKUW and will undoubtedly be better counselors than any of us could ever hope to be with their dual experience as camper and counselor. It’s reassuring to know they will continue to grow our camp and spread the magic for many years to come! I am grateful to have the opportunity to be apart of this new CIT program and am counting down the days until CKUW 2014!