Leadership building is hard work!

“So it sounds like a pretty rugged month for you guys. Two weeks of tripping and two weeks of scrubbing floors and toilets. Yes?”

“Well sure, but you can’t expect to be a leader if you have never done any hard work, challenged yourself, or tested your limits.” Malcolm told me as he scrubbed some jelly off a Bear Hut table.


“That’s pretty insightful Malcolm. How old are you guys again?”

“Sixteen.” Scott responded.

Wow. I was impressed. These guys were pretty mature, but then again that was the idea behind the camp and the LIT program: building strong leaders. Sounded like they were doing just that.

“You guys really will learn a lot about yourselves this summer. That’s a tough program.”

“Oh it’s tough, that’s for sure, and add to all that we have to make it through ‘survivor night’ too.” Alex responded.

“When is ‘survivor night’?” I asked.

“We don’t know.” Scott shrugged.

“Say what?”

“Ya. It’s a surprise. Some evening during the next week the LIT 2 leaders will declare that it is ‘survivor night’. They will take all of us LIT 2’s down to the boat house, put us on the party boat and take us out to Little Indian island and drop us off for the night. We stay on the island overnight by ourselves and then they pick up the living at dawn the next morning.” Malcolm informed me.

“The living?”

“Just kidding. I don’t think anyone has ever died during ‘survivor night’.” Malcolm laughed. I didn’t.

“There’s no preparation on our part. All we have to survive the night is the clothes on our back and one match to light a fire.” Alex added.

“What is on the island?”

“Lotsa rocks, lotsa trees, one privy and a camp fire.”

“That’s it?” I asked. Scott shrugged and nodded. “No tent?”

“No tent.”

“No sleeping bag?”

“No sleeping bag.”

“But what if it rains?”

“We get wet.”

“But what if the temperature drops?”

“We get cold. Nurse Anne! It’s called ‘survivor night’ and not ‘surrender night’ for a reason! We are testing our limits and our abilities and building confidence! That’s the whole point! We are leaders in training.” Scott explained as he kept sweeping. 

Weird. He seemed cool with it. And why wouldn’t he be? He was a sixteen year old boy. This was adventure at it’s pinnacle. Like Peter Pan and the Lost boys, the LIT 2’s would have a taste of making it without adult supervision. 


“I see.” I said and I did. I got it. But as a mum….it worried me a lot. And as a nurse it worried me even more. I was imagining the LIT 2’s lined up outside my office suffering from exposure, hypothermia, fractured limbs, mosquito attacks (or worse – not pirates, obviously, but bears?), or burns from the camp fire. The possibilities for catastrophe were endless. I needed more info on this ‘survivor night’. I would talk to Bill and Fr. Brian later.

I heard the coffee sputter as it finished brewing. I poured my cup of coffee, gathered my back pack and started towards the dining hall exit, headed towards arts and crafts and the first aid kit. I stopped in the doorway and looked over my shoulder at Alex, Scott, and Malcolm.

“And your parents pay money for you to do this?” I asked the boys.

“YES!” The three all yelled in unison and then laughed.

“Just checking.” I said as I let the door swing closed.

Mind? Blown. 


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