My Word of the Month - GRIT - by T Duenkel

Oct 20 2022

Ever ask why some people achieve more than others?


GRIT – the Oxford English Dictionary defines Grit as “the courage and strength of mind that makes it possible for somebody to continue doing something difficult or unpleasant.”


Several factors come together to explain Grit:


Courage is hard to measure, but it is directly related to the level of Grit.  Courageous people know they might fail but are not afraid to try. Failure is part of the process. Knowing failure is a possibility teaches a valuable lesson - perseverance is the path to achievement. Being afraid to fail creates an aversion to risk or to try. Grit is fueled by courage. Courage is like a muscle; you need to work it every day - use it or lose it! In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “do something that scares you every day.”  


Have you heard of The Big Five? They are five human personality character traits: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. Of these five, conscientiousness is considered most linked to Grit.


Conscientious, are you meticulous? Are you achievement orientated, able to stay on task, and do your best work until the assignment is completed? Conscientious people are careful and take pains to do their best; excellent traits for educational, athletic, and job related success. It is important to commit to go for gold; success is unlikely if all you do is choose to show up.


Long-Term Goals, achieving a long-term goal comes down to talent and effort - practice must have a purpose. Purpose is the difference between the person who succeeds and the person who spends a lot of time doing something. Long-term goals are the reason for long-term effort and build the driving forces of stamina, endurance, the Grit.


Resilience gives us the strength to keep trying when things do not go to plan, and it will happen; we all stumble and fall.  Grit is believing that we learn and grow from positive and negative experiences. Grit gives us the optimism and confidence to get back up and keep trying.


Excellence, gritty people don’t seek perfection; the two may sound the same, but perfection is more unforgiving and inflexible. Excellence is an attitude that is a lot more forgiving and makes room for failing and vulnerability on the road to improvement. As Tennyson once said: “Grit is seeking, striving, finding, and never yielding.


People with Grit believe “everything will be alright in the end, and if it is not alright, it is not the end.”


No two campers are the same, our daily program is built to welcome and encourage each individual camper to succeed, regardless of his athletic level.  His goals are our goals. 


Through sports - we teach boys to set short-term and long-term goals.

Our weekly special events are challenging and set us apart from other sporting camps. They are designed to build a campers will power to succeed. 


Through encouragement - the boys take safe risks, try new activities and push themselves to achieve their goals.


Through competition - boys learn how to fail. Failure is disappointing, but it is an inevitable part of life and a teachable moment. Campers need to know it is ok to fail. The important lesson is to get back up and try again until you succeed.


Through example – counselors and staff also participate in camp sporting events.  Campers see the counselors and staff set personal goals and make choices to achieve them.


Through determination to succeed, run a ½ road to build up to the full road. Complete one dock-to-rock at a time en route to swimming the Chikopi mile, complete RAMBO, learn to ride a bicycle, single a canoe, all of these goals are achievable.


In today’s world of technology, success is measured in “likes and followers.”

We remove technology and guide campers to learn success is not necessarily achieving the end goal, success is more about overcoming the fear of trying, which in turn builds Grit.


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