Alumni Spotlight – Jon Wilkins

by Alex Rotman on October 1, 2021

Jon Wilkins

Location: Los Angeles, CA

The Caribou Alumni spotlight is back and we’re kicking off with WILKINS!!!  Jon was a longtime camper turned counselor and eventually one of our Program Directors from 2006 – 2017.  Summer after summer Wilkins brought the energy and passion to any tournament he was competing in or program that he was leading.  However, more importantly he exemplified the Caribou culture of “It’s cool to be nice” at camp and beyond.   Check out his spotlight below!

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My favorite camp memory:

My favorite camp memories are from all of the times I got to spend with my bunkmates. Whether it was at meals, clean up, bunk night, or even rainy-day schedules, those times really taught me how to navigate human relationships both professionally and socially, along with the importance of having a support system you can lean on. Everyone knows that camp friends are the best friends, and the time I got to spend bonding with my now lifelong friends is invaluable.

What Caribou values or lessons have you brought into your life after camp?

Caribou’s main slogan is what it is for a reason. Camp taught me that it’s not only cool to be nice at Camp Caribou, but it is also cool to be nice everywhere, period. No matter what you want to accomplish in life, all that really matters is that you are kind and treat everyone with respect. I am so thankful that this lesson was continuously reinforced from the very first minute I stepped foot on the peninsula at age 9.

Favorite piece of life advice?

There are so many, but I’ll pick one that piggy backs off my prior point. Martha would often say, “You don’t have to be best friends with everyone. What matters is that you treat everyone with kindness and respect.” In everyone’s adult life, at some point you’ll meet someone who you might not get along with as well as you do with others. This can be at work, in your family, or just meeting people in general (back when we did that). This doesn’t mean that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that other person or yourself; it’s just that not everyone is meant to agree about everything all of the time. In these moments, it is so important to show them kindness and respect and to do your best to understand their perspective. You never know what they’ve been through that led them to behave the way they do.