Written by Pat Rosin, Camp Jewell’s Assistant Outdoor Center & Summer Day Camp Director
The term “This changed my life” gets thrown around quite often. Some use it to describe meeting their wife, or having children, or finally finding that perfect job. Well I can honestly say that The Y changed my life because it allowed me to do all of these things.
I always had a crush on Bethany Bottone. Going all the way back to high school when I would see her around and even talked to her for a semester when we had a study hall together. But in terms of baseball, she was playing for the Red Sox and I was striking out in T-Ball. Then she graduated a year ahead of me and went off to college a year before I did. During the summer I worked at YMCA Camp Sloper in Southington, CT and then at the Southington YMCA during the school year running before and after care programs. Bethany was busy at college in Washington DC and spent semesters traveling the world. So again, she’s the Sox and I’m not quite sure where shortstop is.
Then in the summer of 2002 the YMCA brought us together. I had been a counselor for three years and was tapped to run the high ropes course that summer. Bethany, who showed up to staff training straight from Guatemala, appeared at my station to learn how to properly put on a harness. I don’t remember what I said because I’m sure it sounded mostly like “Blah, blah, bley, blibbity, blah.” I just couldn’t believe that I had to now teach this person, whom I could barely talk to, how to properly use a device that is used to keep someone safe. Well, I guess I made an impression on her because we’ve been together ever since.
Four years passed by quickly, and we were engaged on the first day of summer 2006. That summer we were also Assistant Camp Directors at Sloper and continued to be until we had our first child in 2009. Eli August Rosin (of course another summer reference) was born on November 28 and has changed our lives. I know he’s mine, but he’s an awesome kid. He loves animals, climbs everything, and dips all of his food in ketchup. Eli makes me laugh every day. Eli has also become the unofficial prince of Camp Jewell. You can tell Eli is surveying his land when you hear calls of “Eli,” and “Hey, it’s Eli,” and my personal favorite, “Hi Eli’s Mom.” Eli has made me a better person inside and out.
I’m not sure if the perfect job actually exists, but I think it’s all in the eyes of the beholder. Take my typical morning here at Camp Jewell YMCA. I have to stand in front of 70 kids and adults and talk. And not just talk, but be creative and funny and make sure that everyone is having a great time while they are here. This could seem like a nightmare to some, but to me it’s just a normal Friday. Then after talking in front of a large group of people it’s on to talking to more people, but the people who I am charged with motivating, inspiring, informing, and generally pointing in the right direction: my staff. Working here at Jewell, the staff is such an integral part of camp that group leaders are always inquiring about them even before they arrive. It makes me proud to be able to work with such creative, knowledgeable, and confident young adults, and I know one day they will stand where I am and probably being a lot funnier than I ever thought possible.
So all of this I owe to The Y. It has helped me become a husband, a father, and a leader. The Y has provided me a niche and a family that I will never take for granted. I don’t know many 31 year olds who have worked for one organization for 13 years, but I’m proud to say I have and I look forward to seeing where it takes me from here.