Updated: Aug 22, 2019
This is my first year at Tapawingo. I have never been a camper before or completed the CIT program, and I did not know what to expect as I came to CAMP-of-the-WOODS to begin staff training. I prayed many times before I came that God would bless me with long lasting friendships and that He would use me this summer for His plan and His glory. I can gladly say that I am blown away by how He has answered that prayer.
During the pre-season banquet, which is an elegant dinner with the entire staff on the last day of training, I looked around at each person seated at the dinner table and realized that if any one person was not on the staff, it would not be the same. Each person brings something unique which together creates a staff that is supportive, energetic, and joyful. There are so many people here on staff that I have connected well with. It is important that those who are working together in a ministry are unified and understand the reason why they are here. The staff here is unified and know that camp is not just to have fun, but to share God’s love and build relationships with the campers. I love seeing counselors spending time with their campers and how each cabin bonds together as the week progresses. I love hearing the camp support one another through singing songs of congratulations each time a camper skis around the island or earns a badge. And I love going on canoe trips and hikes with my campers and watching how they share stories from the trip with joy and excitement. Most of all, I love that because the staff is unified and each person brings something different to the table, we all have a unique way of connecting with campers and playing a role in their lives.
God has taught me so many things this summer. During one Vespers, which is the daily evening chapel, someone came to talk about being present where and with whom God has placed us. That day I was feeling not very connected with my campers and my mind would keep wandering to my life at home. Hearing that we should be fully present and content where God has placed us and with who God has surrounded us with was exactly what I needed to hear. It also showed me how important it is for campers and staff members to be present at Tapawingo, which is where God has each person for that time. Even though there are matters of going back to school and dealing with friendships at home, it is important that while we are here, we are fully present. Being completely present helps God to use me to glorify His name and show God’s love through answering my camper’s questions, praying for them, helping them earn badges, and spending my free time with them to get to know them better. While matters of home can be demanding, this island captivates the attention of each camper and staff. It is not merely the island that engrosses each person, but rather the presence of God at this camp and the joyful, unified, and unique staff that care deeply about each camper that steps off the barge and onto the island.