By Patrick Mainieri

The 2022 Music for All Summer Symposium, presented by Yamaha, kicked off with 261 campers arriving for leadership weekend. With camp on hiatus for the past two summers to ensure the safest environment, 99% of our campers are attending camp for the first time.

As campers were welcomed at registration, there was a noticeable, and understandable, amount of uncertainty. It was evident that campers were wondering, “Is this the right place for me?” “Where do I go?” “What do I do?” This uncertainty laid the foundation for transformation.

Through the service of our SWAG team, a volunteer group of transformative leaders from across the country, many of whom are past campers themselves, smiles and laughter ensued. Uncertainty began to relax. Campers found a resource that they could immediately trust and seek support from at any time during their camp experience.

At noon on Saturday, we kicked off Opening Session. Within 10 minutes, campers were meeting new friends and learning from one another.

Transformation continued throughout the afternoon and into the evening. Campers from over 30 states began realizing the experiences at their home program mirror what band and color guard students from across the country experience. Through activities and sessions, campers were challenged to be both introspective and seize their unique abilities with faculty prompting:

    • “What is your ‘why?’”
    • “You don’t need to change THE world, just change YOUR world.”
    • “No one normal has ever changed the world, so embrace your weirdness!”
    • “Remember that all great leaders aren’t extroverted. The quiet leaders are sometimes the ones that have an even bigger impact.”

Justin McLean, Leadership Weekend Faculty, presents to campers about the impact of attitude.

At the end of Day 1, it was apparent that with uncertainty, through transformation, new relationships had been forged. Let’s just say the dance party at the end of Day 1 was hoppin’!

Leadership Weekend students dance at a surprise party at the end of their first day of camp.

Our leadership weekend campers are nothing but impressive. They are kind, curious, and authentic, continuing to refine what defines them and how they can use their talents to support others. They are empowered to approach faculty and ask questions to grow themselves. But, most importantly, they are forging relationships with one another that they can lean on and learn from long after camp has concluded.

At Music for All, it is our mission to create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all. We are glad to be back and excited about the future of our world, which lies in the thoughts and choices of our motivated young leaders!

Written by Patrick Mainieri. Patrick is a the Director of Participant Experience for the 2022 Summer Symposium, member of Music for All Event Staff, and a former SWAG.