Living as a Leader,  Summer Camp

From “My dad’s the boss of you” to “I don’t want anyone to know you’re my dad”

Mitch back in the "my dad's the boss of you" days

Funny thing happened when we brought our son Mitch to camp this past Sunday. He and his buddy Gabe (whose mom also works at SpringHill) told us not to visit their cabin because they didn’t want anyone to know who their parents were.

What’s so funny about this request? Well it’s a long way from Mitch’s first years as a camper when he’d be sure to tell his counselors early in the week that “my Dad’s the boss of you” even though we told him numerous times never to say such things.

Growing up with a dad whose work includes being a public figure has its ups and downs. Think of people you know who grew up as politicians’ kids or the famous “PK’s – preacher’s kids” and how their parent’s notoriety impacted their childhood. It can be a tremendous blessing but also be a painful experience.

My job, in some ways, is a combination of a politician’s and a preacher’s. So Denise and I have worked hard to make sure our kids didn’t carry around unrealistic or burdensome expectations because of their dad’s work. We wanted our kids to have the blessing of a dad who works at a camp without all the extra baggage that could come along with it.

And based on Mitch’s desire for what he wants his camp experience to be like we’ve accomplished our goal.

So if you see Mitch in the next two weeks act as if you don’t know who his parents are, let him have his first SpringHill Experience that doesn’t include being the President’s son.


  • Dave Elliott

    Just a note to say congratulations for your wonderful work. You made a profound impact on my life, oh so long ago, with your living faith. It has carried me through some very wonderful and difficult times. It is very apparent you have done so with so many others. God Bless you, Denise, and your family.

    • mdperry1

      Dave, thanks for reading and your kind words. I was just thinking about over the last few weeks and wondering how you’re doing. Hope all is well and I’d love to connect sometime.

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