Updated: Aug 22, 2019
I woke up this morning in a hammock, the cool breeze blowing off the lake and across my face. The sun is painting the lake red and gold, the clouds are lifting off of the mountains, and the birds are just beginning to call out to each other. At Tapawingo it feels like the whole world wakes up with you.
My campers slowly begin to rise from their sleeping bags to the smell and sound of bacon crackling over the fire. The rest of camp is still in bed, but my cabin, Shoshone, along with Commanche and Oklahoma, slept out last night. S’mores around the fire was the perfect ending to a night of one-on-ones, where campers and counselors get the chance to talk personally about God, and life and really get to know each other. It’s a long-standing tradition, one of the things that makes Tapawingo so special.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the legacy of Tap this week. We are about to close out the 60th summer of Tapawingo, and it’s amazing how God continues to bless this place every year. It’s been cool to see the relationships that are made here and how lives become intertwined. This week, a past director of Tap, Miss Angie, has been speaking in Vespers, I also got a letter in the mail from one of my old counselors, and I ran into a girl who was my cabin mate my very first week at camp. Week after week, I meet mothers who are dropping off their daughters hoping that this place will change their daughters the same way it changed them years ago. The other day I had my drama class stare at the ceiling of the chapel and imagine what it was like to be a camper in summers past. Every week, Miss Joy has people who have been coming to Tapawingo stand up and say why they keep coming back. Every week, Miss Ellie is the last one standing, because this is her 12th summer at Tap. Every week, she says something different, because there are so many reasons to keep returning. This week, she mentioned how consistent this place is. Miss Joy responded by saying that although this place has changed a lot, the mission never has.
We do have our fun, that’s for sure. On Tuesday, I watched (and participated) as hoards of campers and staff clashed in a sea of pink and blue in an intense game of “Capture the Princess.” Yesterday, it was a fellow counselor, Miss Dianna’s birthday. After she was crowned with the birthday hat and told to skip around the dining hall, she soon found herself running to the dock with a crowd of campers chanting “In the lake” following closely behind. There is no shortage of laughter at Tapawingo, the Joy of the Lord is overflowing.
This morning, I had the chance to speak at Power Hour, a time right after breakfast when the whole camp digs into God’s Word together. I spoke about God’s presence and how we are constantly surrounded by it. At Tapawingo, God’s presence is almost tangible. Scripture says that, “Where two or three gather in His name, there He is with them (Matthew 18:20).” Every morning when we open our Bibles to sing through the names of the books, He is with us. When tears are streaming down our faces during worship in Vespers, He is with us. When a cabin huddles around a flashlight to start cabin devos, when campers pour out to their counselors during one-on-ones, when we are shouting Scripture at each other as we struggle up a mountain, and when we slowly wake up to the wonder of the sunrise on the lake, He is with us. The last thing we sing to campers as the barge pulls away from the dock at the end of the week are the words, “Be Bold, Be Strong, for the Lord our God is with you.” And that is what the legacy of Tapawingo is. Every person who steps onto this Island leaves knowing that He is with us.