June 5, 2019
Matt Berning ’18 first stumbled across Camp Voyageur when looking for ways to spend his upcoming summer vacation. He knew he wanted to be outside—preferably in the Boundary Waters—and spending it at Camp Voyageur seemed like the perfect option. After he applied for and received the position as a camp counselor there, he texted his friends and fellow MPA alumni Paul Thompson-Nelson ’18, and Jackson Peacock ’18, out of excitement. A few weeks later, unbeknownst to Matt, both Jackson and Paul applied for and received the positions as well.
As camp counselors at Camp Voyageur, the trio will host portage trips across the Boundary Waters and hike around Lake Superior with their campers. “We will take campers in pairs of two and be gone for extended periods of time,” explains Matt. “The essence of Camp Voyageur involves creating an atmosphere that embraces the wonders of the outdoors … We have not worked here too long, but have already fallen in love with it. This is where MPA comes into play. We can all agree MPA has made a large impact on our mindsets on life and allowed us to follow our dreams.”
The boys share that MPA’s motto of “Dream Big. Do Right.” has inspired them throughout their freshman years of college, and also in their decision to spend their summer at Camp Voyageur. “MPA has always taught me to step outside of my comfort zone and try something new,” shares Jackson. “Whether it be academic or extracurricular, the support I’ve received has led me to explore my passion for the outdoors. The principles and morals taught to me at MPA allow me to spread the joy of learning to our campers and staff at Camp Voyageur.”
Matt adds that MPA’s athletic program and overall school community had a large impact on him, and contributed to why he chose to spend his summer at Camp Voyageur: “The administration and teachers care about their students and what is happening in their lives,” he says. “The community members can trust one another, which promotes a safe learning environment. This allowed me to flourish and be true to myself, and that is why I feel comfortable making large decisions like leaving for an entire summer to follow my dreams at Camp Voyageur.”
Jackson said that for him what held the most value from his time at MPA was learning how to have his own voice. “I was always pushed to speak up about my opinions in class and contribute in discussions. At Camp Voyageur, we as the staff are now the role models who need to inspire the same individuality in our campers.”
“To dream big is to not be afraid to try,” says Paul. “To do right is to be conscientious. We are expected to uphold these values and more at Camp Voyageur to ensure a safe and educational environment. I will do right all summer, as I did at MPA.”
Thank you Matt, Jackson, and Paul, for sharing how you are dreaming big and doing right. Have an incredible summer at Camp Voyageur!