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  • Writer's pictureTapawingo

Fond Memories Do Linger

Updated: Aug 22, 2019

An Island of Beauty is Camp Tapawingo…

Nothing will ever match the confusion of people’s faces back home when I tell them I work at a girl’s camp on an island in the middle of the Adirondacks. But even more so, no place will ever match the “place of joy” that Tapawingo has been for me.

…A Place of Contentment, of Joy, and of Peace…

I remember very distinctly stepping onto this island as a nine-year-old for the very first time, amazed at what seemed like an endless amount of real trees, compared to the concrete jungle I had just driven five hours from. I was instantly met with the beautiful smiling faces of my counselors. I was so drawn to their joyful energy as they shouted, “WELCOME TO TAPAWINGO!” that I forgot my father was on the boat! I remember how welcome I felt as they led me to the little corner of the island that belonged to the Oklahoma cabin and chose my bunk bed, so immensely excited for the week to start even though I had no idea what was going to happen. There was a feeling that came over me in that moment, a feeling I still feel even to this day eleven years later as a counselor. People who haven’t been a camper or a staffer tell me that there’s something so special about Tapawingo, but they just can’t figure out what. I simply tell them I don’t know how to explain it either, other than that God is here on this island. He is so, so present here on this island of joy, making it a place like no other for me and for so many girls every summer since 1959.

Tis There Where the Lord walks with longing and passion…as gently, so gently He spoke to my heart…

As I write this, I realize that I have only about four more days on this island before my summer at Tapawingo is over and I could never have imagined spending my summer elsewhere this year. Seeing campers feel free to enjoy themselves here has given me so much joy as well as nostalgia about what it was like for me to be a camper. I remember meeting God in every wildlife class, learning about paper birch trees and coral lichen. I remember meeting God in the laughter and giggles of glee of the other girls on my banana boat. I remember meeting God while completing my badge requirements with excellence. I remember meeting God during my one-on-ones with my counselors Wednesday evening, talking about the most vulnerable parts of myself and giving it all to the Lord. I’ve met God here on this island unlike any other place and still do every time I come back. It has brought me so much joy and has been such an honor to give back to the next generation of campers, just as I have received in the past.

An Island of Beauty, fond memories do linger with you, where I found Him, my Savior and Lord…

As we celebrate birthdays, listen to what a staff member teaches us during Vespers or Power Hour, celebrate each other’s accomplishments, or share personal matters with our cabin during cabin devotions, I am reminded of the pure joys of being a camper, even if I am past the age of that. I am now the counselor of the Navajo cabin. When I sit on my cabin porch during rest hour, my eyes drift over to the Oklahoma cabin across from me, memories swarming my mind in flashes, how at nine-years-old my heart was touched with the light of Christ my counselors carried. It fills my heart with such overflowing happiness to realize that girls who are now nine years old will be poured into from my fellow staffers as I once was.

As I finish writing this blog post, I am also reminded of what a privilege it has been to be here at Tapawingo this summer. What a privilege to have slept in a bunk in almost every cabin. What a privilege it has been to help campers tie-dye. What a privilege it has been to do the Lord’s work at this beautiful place of joy. Tapawingo will never fail to have a special place in my heart and I will always call it my second home. As I leave in a couple of days, all I can say is fond memories most definitely do linger…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

In Christ,

Miss Eliza


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