The Wetfoot Blog

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

At the Mic with John Stanley

John completing the traditional Island Call with an echo, of course!

John Stanley, the fourth director here at Camp Manito-wish YMCA, made a recent visit to Manito-wish and we were able to grab him for an interview. John has a long history with The Y starting with his roots in the Texas Panhandle and Dallas. He later moved onto Camp Florida and then YMCA Camp Classen in Oklahoma. Stanley left Manito-wish in 1999 to follow other passions - philanthopy and entrepreneurship. He works with The Legacy Group and has been there for eleven years! John, his pick-up riding dog Dallas, and wife, Jamee, enjoy making the trip to Manito-wish and to southerwestern WI several times a year as they hike, snowshoe, grow pumpkins, hunt, fish, and attend to the grape vines they have recently started.

John and his family moved to Wisconsin in 1989 and he joined us as the first Director from outside of the tight knit Manito-wish community. John served as the Executive Director for ten years (1989 - 1999) and left the legacy of helping to define Manito-wish's Collaborative Leadership Model. Let's let John tell the rest of his story...

What first inspired you to get started in Camping? Being a scholarship camper at YMCA Camp Grady Spruce of the Dallas Y camp. My first counselor, Ben, was the first non-family member, outside of school, to value me as a person.

Tell us a little about your Manito-wish history. As a YMCA Director colleague I first visited CMY in 1980 participating in a national committee that was planning the centennial of YMCA camping….coming up in 1985. The Leadership Lodge had just been completed and Bob Telllen was very proud of it as a winter ready facility. As a Texan I thought I had fallen off the edge of the earth when arriving in the North Woods in January. For the first time I saw six foot high wind rows of snow down the middle of main street and had a fish fry at George's. John Michler and Bob Tellen were our hosts. The planning meeting included ample time for fellowship and saunas and resulted in envisioning World Camp (an international exchange summer camp program matching thousands of campers from around the world with US campers) and the Centennial Celebration that eventually took place at Estes Park.

My family and I visited camp several times over the coming years and my friendship with John Michler and Bob Tellen deepened. In 1989 John Michler called and invited me to throw my hat in the ring to be Telleen’s successor. Jamee, Karen, Micah and I arrived in early 1990. Iltis picked me up at the Rhinelander airport late one February night. I was welcomed by beautiful northern lights and a winter retreat in Schwartz. I remember meeting board member Cora Forbush for the first time that night.

What is your favorite memory here at Manito-wish?
Campers and staff using the Leadership Center and Smith leadership village as it was intended, envisioned, planned, and built.

What did you learn at Camp that you apply to your current life and/or profession?
Growing up to be a whole person is our call, always trying to balance growing in spirit, mind and body.

You were part of the creation of the 7 Qualities of a Manito-wish Leader. Tell us about the conception of them.
The board’s call to grow our own counselors was clear and compelling. Equally clear to me is that we had indeed been doing that for 70 + years. We articulated the seven qualities based upon what we saw in the best and brightest trip leaders of the past and present. Then as we understood the need for leadership going forward, we saw the need for more of these kinds of leaders at camp and in homes, classrooms, and businesses everywhere.

Share a bit of wisdom with all of. John's Trail Tip of the Day:
“It’s not about you” – Rick Warren

Respectivly submitted by Karen (John's daughter)

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