When I was in elementary school, the only nights my parents let me stay up past my bedtime were on Wednesdays so I could watch the newest episode of MythBusters with them. Today, I’ve kept one line on that show close to my heart while I work at Sci-Tech: “Failure is always an option.”

I’m Phil, and I came to Sci-Tech in 2019. However, I learned about Sci-Tech earlier in 2015. I was longing to be a camper here, but financial failures had kept me from achieving what I wanted to do.

I come from a rough and lower income background, scraping by on one parent’s $14 hourly pay and another parent unemployed for almost two years straight, then off and on for another four years. I didn’t know if we would be kicked out of our house next month or if we could continue to have the comfortable lifestyle we used to have.

Throughout high school, my parents’ stresses were becoming my own stresses. I felt like I was in shambles, and I couldn’t find my way out of it. I felt like I was destined to have a terrible life with nothing to show for it. I felt like a failure.

When I first applied to work at Sci-Tech, I did so in 2018 as a Meteorology student at Penn State University in my freshman English class. After having my professor review my resume to help me make certain edits, I submitted the application on Halloween. A couple months later, after it was more apparent that Meteorology wasn’t the best fit for me, I switched my major to undecided.

Soon after, I was hired for the summer as a counselor and a member of the Programming and Logistics team. I spent the next four months counting down the days to my first ever year at camp.

Once I got here, I started doing things that I loved. Seeing the campers’ faces and excitement over the programs we run always warms my heart. Being able to help out and do a lot of the background logistics for this camp has been one of the greatest honors that I have ever been able to hold. I had started to feel like a success!

Looking backwards, I thought that my calling was Meteorology. However, after my first summer in 2019, I found my true calling in both Logistics and Audio Visual (AV) Technology. Now in 2022, my fourth year at camp, I’ve gone a step further and have had the honor of holding a position on the new Junior Leadership team as the camp’s Logistics & AV Coordinator.

Camp also inspired me to do something bigger. I went from failure to success.

Back in May 2022, I graduated from Penn State with a B.A. in Telecommunications and Media Industries. If I hadn’t come to camp in 2019, I probably would have had a very different story to tell, not have this new degree, and would not have been able to find myself fulfilling my dream from the failure of the past.

To everyone else in the Sci-Tech community, I want to say thank you for letting me both find my path and achieve my dream.