It Happened Again, And Again. And Again…

Posted on July 20th, 2019 by

Last night, our second junior camp of the week, we were closing the opening program in the dorm.  I looked out at the campers and gave the announcements of the expectations of being a camper at TLC.  I had finished, or thought I had finished, when I said aloud to myself, “What am I forgetting?”  (You would think I would just create a check list I pull out each time.  But you would be wrong).

A voice in the front row said, “Pick up the garbage…”.  I looked at Sophie and said, “How did you know?”  She said, “I read your last blog about it.”

My first response was, “You read my blog???”

That blog was about when I had forgotten to say something, and a mess was left, and one camper stayed behind and quietly picked up all the garbage with me.

My second response was, “Thank you, Sophie.”  She just saved me a ton of work.  Or maybe both of us.

I dismissed the campers to go upstairs and meet with their dorm counselors.  Then I started taking the equipment down and stacking chairs.  That’s when I heard, “Neal, we found a wallet.  There’s nothing in it except money. There’s a lot.”  It was two eleven-year old girls.  They walked it over and handed it to me.  In it was, for a kid, a LOT of money, a whole camp’s allowance to buy shoes or clothing…

It was Emmy and Abby.  Not needing congratulations.  No sense that they did something extraordinary.  Just, this is what they do.

This morning I announced the find and asked if someone had lost a wallet.  A young boy’s hand went up in the back row.  Sheepish.  But mostly relieved and overjoyed.

I told the campers what had happened and how the girls came forward, even though they saw all the money in it.

And, without asking them to, the whole place started clapping.

Then, this afternoon, a boy who was already struggling with self-esteem double-faulted three points in a row in our doubles tournament.  His partner went back and encouraged him each point, giving zero sign of frustration or condescension.

When he got to Love-40, his opponent, quietly, but kindly said, “You got this, John.”  But John didn’t “got this”.  He double-faulted a fourth time to end the game and match and hung his head.  But his teammate walked straight over to him to give him a high five and say something kind.  And his opponent walked to the net and extended a hand in friendship, not just sportsmanship.  He knew John was sad and embarrassed, but he looked him in the eye and said “I enjoyed playing with you.”  And meant it.

Something about the Three Crowns • Positive Attitude • Full Effort • Good Sportsmanship℠ gets inside you, makes those around you want to reach out to others, acknowledge them, thank them.

And then makes you want to do the same.

Which is why it happened again.  And again.  And again….

I want to be the next “again”…

How Can I Contribute?



  1. Lynn says:

    Kids are amazing and we couldn’t of been more thankful at the last camp when we were cleaning the rooms we found a note from 2 girls thanking us for having the room clean when they got to camp.A little note like that goes along ways.We do our best every week to have the camps ready.Whether it’s a Monday and turnover isn’t so rushed or a Thursday when we have a fast turnover.My team pulls together and I couldn’t do it without them.Again I’d also like to say working with your staff has been amazing.When I’m down I know I can go into the pro shop and they bring me out of it and we can joke around.I’ve been doing this for 19 years now and the camps and staff are always a delight to work with.Lynn

    • Neal says:

      Lynn, Your service to others and TLC is unparalleled. Thank you for the work you and custodial staff do to make TLC shine. We cannot do it without you. So glad those campers recognized it.

  2. Amy Braun Steinhauser says:

    You are doing so much good in a world that so badly needs it. My grandpa Herman always said, “what if everybody did that?” And he meant it on both sides. What if everybody threw a gum wrapper on the ground? Or, what if everybody picked up a piece of trash they found?

  3. Mandy says:

    So heartwarming! I think the girls that you are referring to that returned the wallet are my daughter and her friend. Such a proud mama!

    • Neal Hagberg says:

      And they did the most delightful dance routine in the Variety Show tonight. Such kind, fun, and delightfully high spirited girls! You SHOULD be proud :). Good job as a parent! It doesn’t come from nowhere…

  4. Greta Wood says:

    It’s always a pleasure to read your blogs Neal.

  5. Bev Lesiuk says:

    Thank you for sharing this heartwarming story. I look forward to your blogs, always.

    • Neal Hagberg says:

      thank you, Bev, each time I hear from our “neighbors to the north”, I’m heartened…

  6. Dr. Bryce Young says:

    A beautiful reminder to see the God and good within each other. Thank you for sharing Neal. We are so looking forward to TLC Family Camp with you again!😇