Peter Yanson (2003-2011)

Thoughts from André Brewer – Director, Camp Lincoln
Peter Yanson spent nine summers at Camp Lincoln and developed mentally, physically, socially and emotionally more and more each year.  The amount of commitment, dedication, enthusiasm and overall maturity I saw out of Peter was simply incredible! He was looked up to by so many during his last summer (2011).  He excelled in numerous areas at camp and gained the respect of both the camp administration team and counselors.  I am honored to be associated with such an intelligent, mature and passionate young man.  He thrived on improving himself and those around him, gaining self-confidence and also on developing his inner being.  I am impressed with the amount of effort Peter put into striving for excellence at Camp Lincoln.  He always looked for ways to better himself and those around him while also thriving on receiving feedback from myself, other administrators and his peers whether this feedback was positive or negative.  Having met Peter when he began camping with us in 2003, I can honestly say that it has been an honor to watch him develop into a responsible and mature young man over the years. Peter has learned to take initiative without having to be told, speak in front of very large groups and finally, dedicate his time to helping others.  Peter has demonstrated these traits throughout his time at Naples High School by serving as a member of the Varsity Cross Country, Lacrosse and Tennis Teams, Student Government, National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society as well as being involved in the school’s Model United Nations Program, Interact Club and Mu Alpha Theta.  Outside of school, he has shown his commitment to helping others by serving food at a local soup kitchen and by working as a member of the Brainerd Lakes Areas Habitat for Humanity Chapter.  Overall, Peter strives to do the very best he can and helping others he encounters to do the same while being quite involved in life at Naples High.  This young man epitomized what we, as a camp organization, desire in our staff and hope to see Peter join our summer staff team in 2013.

Hometown: Naples, Florida

High School: Naples High School, 2012 High School

Activities: Cross country, track, lacrosse, tennis, student government (treasurer), National Honor Society, Spanish Club, Mu Alpha Theta Math Club, Model United Nations, InterACT club and Habitat for Humanity

College: Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, entering fall 2012

Contact Info: pyanson@bowdoin.edu

Birthday: January 28, 1994

Years at Camp Lincoln:

  • 2003: Gopher
  • 2004: Badger
  • 2005: Apache
  • 2006: Chippewa
  • 2007: Bunkhouse
  • 2008: Pioneer
  • 2009: Senior I
  • 2010: LT I
  • 2011: LT II (Olympic Club and Badger)

How were you first introduced to Camp Lincoln? Two of my cousins attended Camp Lincoln, Sam Boswell (camper 2003-2008 and staff 2011) and Thomas Boswell (camper 2003-2007, 2009-2011) and were both in the LT Program.  My sister, Ally Yanson, was a camper and counselor at Hubert (2003-2005 and staff 2011).

Where does your story with Camp Lincoln begin? I remember touring Camp Lincoln in 2002, when we were vacationing at our house on Pelican Lake about 15 minutes away from Camp Lincoln.  I was eight-years-old, and apparently I liked what I saw- I went to camp in 2003.  I enjoyed camp each year, and kept coming back.  I’m glad I did.

What are a few of your favorite memories from camp? Truthfully, all of my LT II year is my favorite camp memory.  It was such a great time.  Other than that, and more specifically, it’s the little things at camp that stick out so positively.  I remember in 2008, when I was in Pioneer, I sliced the bottom of my foot before camp started.  Due to my 13-year-old poor hygiene skills, my foot got infected at camp.  My head counselor, Ben Zucker (camper 2000-2005, staff 2008), taking me down to the health center once every couple of days for treatment and asking the nurses “please help my camper get better, we’re going to the water slides and he needs to be well and be there!”  Knowing that my counselor genuinely cared about my health was awesome.  It’s the little things that really matter.

Do you have any funny travel stories with friends from Camp Lincoln? As cliché as it may sound, I learned a lot about myself.  Through personal growth and development, I was able to step outside my comfort zone and confront fears- such as my fear of heights.  Camp provides a safe environment to truly be yourself and explore and overcome shortcomings.

What is your favorite camp meal? EASILY international food night. All of the best foods cooked from around the world… Heaven.

Can you elaborate on lasting friendships you have from Camp Lincoln? I think an interesting one is a friendship I formed in 2011 during my LT II year.  I did LT II with four other guys, three of whom I knew from previous years.  I did the first six- week session with the only boy I didn’t know, Nicky Dunn.  By the end of the six-weeks, I could confidently say he was one of my best friends, and I knew more about him than some of the friends I had grown up with back home.  We still keep in touch, and I saw him this summer, during our skip year.  He’s attending Boston College, about 2 hours away from Bowdoin, and we have plans to keep in touch.

What did you love most about the LT Program? What did you get out of the program?
Oh, man. it’s so hard to choose one thing I loved most about the LT Program.  Whenever I was asked about it, or I wrote about it (for college essays and whatnot), I found it difficult.  Not because i didn’t get anything out of the LT program- just it was difficult to fully articulate how great and helpful it was.  It’s difficult to put into words.  The LT program definitely instilled a sense of responsibility in me- to think that I was being trusted to help look after a parent’s most important part of their life for four weeks!  Accomplishing both LT I and LT II also gave me a huge sense of accomplishment and showed me just what I could be capable of.

What has life been like since Camp Lincoln (skip year, college, etc.)? Right now, I’m waiting to start school, enjoying the last days of summer.  Over summer, I went to the Bahamas, went on an outward bound Sea Kayaking trip in North Carolina, worked part-time at a local coffee shop, and visited camp.  I’m going to be attending Bowdoin College, a small Liberal Arts school in Maine.  I chose it because, well it felt right- when I visited, I just knew it was where I wanted to go.

Have you thought about a major? Undecided, so far.

Do you have a mentor you look up to, or creed that you live by? One person’s creed and actions I can look up to is Kurt Hahn.  Hahn was a German educator and co-founder of the Outward Bound school.  Hahn, Jewish, stood up to Hitler and the budding Nazi Party when no one else would.  He believed in giving youth opportunities for leadership and having them see the results of their actions.  His values included concern and compassion for others, the willingness to accept responsibility, and concern and tenacity in pursuit of the truth.  His ideas tie in a lot with the philosophies and core values of Camp Lincoln- community, excellence, fun, personal growth and development and quality relationships.