The Surfer

He was an exceptional camper and participant. He came to us as a child in the early fifties and remained until 1970, the closing year of Camp Shasta. As a child and young man, he was a caregiver, a contributor, a participant, and a leader within his groups.  An interesting attribute of his was that although a leader within his groups, he did nothing to shine any light on himself. He led by being himself and not because he needed to be a leader. He loved camp, and camp loved him.

Camp was made for him, and he grew and contributed. In Shasta’s final year, we worked full-time in Las Vegas and placed him and two of his closest friends (also long-term campers, Red Squad, and Junior counselors) as co-directors of camp. While he was not selected as “captain of the ship,” it was evident that he never once relaxed in his responsibilities towards the staff and campers. Again, his natural leadership came out, and he was deferred to.

We hoped that he would be the one to take over camp, to be its full-time director, and to one day own it. Camp was a sure winner with him at the helm. A leader who naturally nurtured the people around him, staff would be his kind. He also had another voice in him that wanted as little responsibility as possible. This voice wanted to surf and fish, not to have any responsibility for others. He was conflicted. And sadly, for us and the future of camp, he made the decision to surf and fish.  He also continued to be a caregiver by becoming an emergency medic. He followed his passions, and the loss was to all that knew him.

When he passed, many of the old campers and friends with his two adult children came to his very appropriate memorial.  He will be missed. 

They are rare to find—People that affect people—A diamond is gone


Author: Sy Ogulnick

Sy Ogulnick received a BA from UCLA, Teacher’s Credential from Los Angeles Board of Education and completed phase I (Master’s portion) in a Doctor of Behavioral Science program at California Coast University. Sy leased and operated a summer day camp in LA. He and his wife then purchased virgin wilderness land in Northern CA, where they built and operated a coed summer camp. They moved to Las Vegas, NV, and purchased, built and operated a community children’s program for families staying in a major resort casino in Las Vegas. They have created programs for children nationwide that employed many people and in the process developed successful training programs for personnel. This led Sy to lecture on how to train staff and the creating of community within the workplace. Sy was then invited to speak at professional conferences on how best to hire and train employees, which led to his becoming a consultant in the art of improving relationships in a work environment and eventually to his epiphany that “Leaders are the primary problem and the answer to the personnel issues that arise in the workplace.” Sy has written numerous papers on the subject of interpersonal relationships, leadership and power. He has lectured throughout the United States, has been interviewed by the media and has appeared on many radio and TV talk shows

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