The Merrill Benson Award
Written by: Eli Rolli, Summer Camp Director. Friday night is always a special night here at YMCA Camp Benson. It is the night that campers get their individual awards from their counselor. It is the night we celebrate our SDPs and thank them for all their hard work throughout the week. It is the night we sing slow songs at Closing Campfire and say our “see you laters”. It is also the night we hand out the Merrill Benson Award.
The Merrill Benson award is the highest honor a camper can receive here at camp. Every week this award goes to the one girl camper and the one boy camper who truly embodied the 6 core values of Camp Benson. Those core values are Caring, Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, Inclusiveness and Fairness. Merrill Benson Award winning campers are typically very helpful in their cabin, display a positive attitude and care about the other kids at camp. They are also responsible for themselves and their actions and are incredibly respectful to staff and other campers. Our staff nominates and votes for the Merrill Benson award recipients each week during our Friday morning meeting. The Merrill Benson Award winners receive a canoe paddle with the YCB camp compass on it, the six core values colors adorning the handle and the camper’s name.
Prior to announcing the Merrill Benson Award winners in front of the entire camp, we have the previous winners of this prestigious award stand up. A couple campers usually stand up, but the majority of the people standing are current staff members and SDPs. This allows are campers to look around and see who has won this award in the past and what their role is now at camp. Handing out this award on Friday nights is one of the best parts of my job. I sincerely hope that all of the campers that come to Camp Benson will strive for this award and honor.