To Strive, to Seek to Find, and Not to Yield
32 years ago, a sweet, awkward little 11-year-old boy from Sioux Falls, SD stepped into a camp experience that truly changed his life. From that time, I have seen hundreds and thousands of young people be influenced, changed and inspired by the work accomplished in eleven short days during the summer.
When I started learning at camp, I knew I loved science and space exploration. When I left, I had unlocked passions in art, dance, medicine, singing and performance. As the years progressed, I saw countless numbers of students, just like me, searching for camaraderie and like-mindedness. We were trying ever so hard to connect with people who thought outside the box and wanted more than what was being delivered to us in our classes in school, we found “our people” at camp.
As a young gifted student, I knew that I wanted that utopic feeling of camp in my life for as long as I could keep it in my life. It empowered me to choose differently, to live outside of my comfort zone. Camp taught me to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. It taught me to take risks, to learn from my missteps, to come back stronger and more powerful after a stumble. It taught me humility, grace, tolerance, kindness, and empathy. In turn, it’s been my personal mission to pass all of those ideas to others with a sense of urgency to future generations. To give students engaging opportunities in academic, leadership and artistic avenues that inspire greatness and a desire to always know more. To know more, to learn more, to sing more, to dance more, to read more. The line “To strive, to seek to find, and not to yield…” in Ulysses by Alfred Lord Tennyson embodied my camp experience and is always playing in my brain. It is abridged here in the lyrics of a tune I fell in love with called Untraveled Worlds
I cannot rest from travel; I will drink life to the lees.
All times I have enjoyed greatly,
have suffered greatly,
both with those that loved me, and alone.
I am a part of all that I have met;
yet all experience is an archwhere through gleams that untraveled world.
That untraveled world
whose margin fades forever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause,
to make an end,
to rust unburnished,
not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life!
Life piled on life were all too little,
and of one to me little remains;
but every hour is saved from that eternal silence,
a bringer of new things;
and vile itwere for some three suns to store and hoard myself,
and this grey spirit yearning in desire
to follow knowledge like a sinking star,
beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
Come,come my friends,
'tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order
smite the sounding furrows;
for my purpose holds to sail beyond the sunset,
and the baths of all the western stars, until I die.
Though much is taken, much abides;
and though we are not now that strength which in old days moved earth andheav'n, that which we are, we are;
one equal temper of heroic hearts.
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will.
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield!
And here we have a NEW adventure at a place that I love dearly, full of incredible minds, hungry for knowledge and eager to share that knowledge with others. Morningside College is truly special. My faculty colleagues are kind and caring, dedicated to advancing learning and knowledge and inspiring people around them. They too, are hungry for new things, exploration and finding those hidden gifts in others. It is precisely why I was so drawn to this place; a place where possibility is the norm. A place where growth is expected and comfort zones are shooed away.
32 years ago, I never thought I’d be the one saying: “Keep the Faith, the best is yet to come,” but when I heard the call, I had to follow. It is that faith that our world is always changing and we must rise up to find and seek out those changes. We must rise up to empower others to make those changes powerful and always searching for more good in the world. It is a call to create more knowledge, more beauty, more understanding. Come join us this summer, we’d love to explore this new world with you!