Updated: Aug 22, 2019
Hi Miss Joy,
For almost 40 summers, we have had the privilege of sitting on our porch at the lake house, looking out with wonder at that 4 acre island… hearing random bells, various songs, excited chanting & fun dining hall shenanigans. We have cheered on many girls (silently) as they swim around the island with a row boat slowly following behind. We’ve rescued a few stranded sail boats when the wind suddenly died and the poor counselor was trying to swim the sail boat back to the island with three campers aboard. We have learned to appreciate how loud 8 girls can collectively scream as the boat driver pulls the banana boat across a big wake. We have witnessed countless one-on-ones on the rocks between counselors and campers and between two staff members during their discipleship times. Best of all - we have spent many Sunday nights worshiping alongside your girls as they gather & sing on the rocks opposite our house. While my wife knows Tapawingo intimately, I have only known it by reputation and from a distance… until now.
While waiting in line during check-in last Sunday, our daughter was filled with the perfect mix of excitement and angst. Even though camp is a way of life for our family, this was an unknown for our daughter - especially since she didn’t know any one else on the island. As the barge pulled up to the dock, any angst melted away as we were warmly greeted with singing. THIS WAS AWESOME! Miss Kelly & Miss Sarah welcomed our daughter with wide eyes, warm smiles and great enthusiasm! After getting settled and saying our goodbyes, my wife and I boarded the boat back to COTW with great confidence that she was in good hands.
Our prayer last week was that our daughter would grow in confidence, independence, maturity and faith. Let me tell you - The Lord answered our prayer! When we picked that girl up on Saturday, she was a different young lady. Within 3 minutes of picking her up - two things became clear - she was full of joy and she had a new level of confidence. We heard all sorts of stories - hiking Panther, trying water skiing, passing her swim test, earning her basic in wildlife, good times in arts & crafts, Miss Joy’s talk about missionaries, and on and on…
While most of what we hear from our daughter are the headlines and highlights, there is a consistent undertone of love, care and belonging to her random tidbits and stories. To be clear, our daughter had a wonderful experience at Tapawingo… not because of the location… not because of the activities… not because of the programs… She had an incredible, transformative experience, because Miss Kelly and Miss Sarah were awesome.… they were rock stars. As parents, we are always looking to surround our kids with godly role models who will love our kids, speak truth into their lives, and show them what it means to live a life passionately following Jesus… thank you for providing that! We consider you all partners in shaping and molding our daughter’s life. Thank you!
I am grateful to be connected more deeply to what is happening on that little island of joy.
You run a great program and lead a great team. Keep up the good work. God is using your whole team in mighty ways.
We will continue to pray for mission success this summer! See you in 2020!
Parent of a camper