There was not the slightest hint of nervousness in the Dwight Armstrong Performing Arts Conservatory choir room on Tuesday morning, July 18, as the powder blue boys of 2B prepared to give their six-minute speeches. Perhaps this was because they would be speaking in front of their own dorm mates, with the exception of speech instructor Ryan Malone and me.
Counselor David Michels introduced each speaker, starting with the oldest camper, Gabe, who gave us “Survival Lessons from a Whale.” The sperm whale is a truly remarkable creature, with a 45-pound brain, the ability to consume 2,000 pounds of food in a single day, a top swimming speed of 23 miles per hour, and the capacity to swim 7,200 feet below the surface.
From the sperm whale, Gabe pointed out, we can glean three spiritual parallels for our fight against Satan: learn to survive great amounts of pressure, which the sperm whale does with its strong rib cage; have a great set of armor, necessary for the sperm whale to combat its mortal foe, the giant squid; and stay close to the surface, away from the predators in deeper waters.
First-time camper Calin described a hard trial that nearly prevented him from attending Philadelphia Youth Camp 2017, an experience that taught him to have faith in God. Jaylen praised “My Dorm,” telling stories about the strong relationships that 2B has built through encouragement, conversations, and love. Westley explained several lessons that he has learned from his favorite superheroes.
Moments before Zachary marched behind the lectern, camp director Wayne Turgeon entered the room to listen to his speech (and, it turned out, his speech only). Zachary exhorted his brothers to get a “Good Night’s Sleep.” Teenagers require between 8-9 hours of sleep each night, yet too many have been sleep deprived for so long that they can’t even remember what it feels like to be fully rested. If we choose not to sleep enough at night, Zachary guaranteed, we will get sleep at times when we should be most alert, such as during important meetings or the Bible classes at camp.
“Satan wants us to sleep when we shouldn’t be sleeping, and not to sleep when we should be sleeping,” Zachary said.
To combat the devastating effects of sleep deprivation, he advised the audience to keep a sleep journal, to make the bedroom a sleep haven, and to establish a sleep routine.
David told the benefits of “Going the Distance,” which he has learned from running 10 miles per week and from attending intensive summer-long track courses each of the last few years. Hours of pounding the pavement have taught him the value of endurance, consistency, and a positive attitude.
“Go to God,” Samuel W. urged his dorm. There are too many problems in life to handle them all ourselves. Through two harrowing experiences—putting off studying for a science test, and nearly panicking before a piano competition—Samuel learned the joy that results from total reliance on God.
Dylan shared four traits that he has developed since his mother remarried last year, proving “The Importance of a Father”: learning, listening, obeying, and positivity. Caden explained how the P51 Mustang fighter plane helped Allied forces win “The Fight in the Clouds” against the Nazis during World War 2.
“I want you to think about this,” Caden said, concluding with a chilling question: “If we did not have the P51, what would have happened?”
Samuel M. capped off a scintillating session of solid speeches with “The Benefits of Making Changes.” Most importantly, making changes in our lives will help us to grow in perseverance. “Perseverance is built from changing,” he said.
Top to bottom, 2B gave probably the best speeches that I have ever witnessed from a dorm at pyc. I toast to you.