Updated: Aug 22, 2019
Our island is an outlet for so many girls to ask questions, be pushed in their faith, and grow with Christ. Tapawingo is a place where we all challenge each other: campers, counselors and administration staff alike. We look off of our “little island” and see the movement around us, those who live on the lake, those who are retreating at CAMP-of-the-WOODS, and the mountains that surround us. The beauty of the Adirondacks is unique in its atmosphere. Seeing God’s presence and His miraculous handiwork inspires and encourages us to delight in His creation (and we have a 360-degree view of it)!
As registration for Tapawingo begins on Sunday afternoon, there is a stillness on the island - a quiet hustling as counselors make final preparations and eagerly await the arrival of campers. Soon our island becomes filled with excited eyes, open hearts, eager learners, and also some uncertainty of what's to come. It’s a time to watch God’s presence flood our island as we jump right into what we are called to do: present God, live for Him, and demonstrate how relational our God truly is.
First of all, the week is covered in prayer. Then it is filled with Bible teaching three times a day: Power Hour, Vespers, and Cabin devotions. Sunday night we dive right into our “Welcome Program” where counselors introduce themselves to the whole camp, share the rules we stand by on our island, and provide an energy level that sets the tone for the week. After Miss Joy finishes her opening orientation talk in the Chapel, she asks us to cross our arms, join hands with the person next to us, and shares why we want to be lifting others up, that we are here to glorify God, and that we are all here to grow in Christ. She then says, “I decide to love you the way Jesus wants me to.” Miss Joy explains this statement, tells us to reflect on it, and if we mean it to repeat it back, and if we cannot say it with out meaning it, to simply meditate on those words. Camp starts the first night by digging deep and learning to be aware of our charactar and words so that we can edify others and glorify God.
So where do the mountains or tough questions come into play?
After our “Welcome Program,” we leave the Chapel singing and head to the rocks along the back shore that our entire camp can sit on. Here a speaker shares the gospel and encourages girls to reflect on their relationship with Christ. While the message is shared, the whole camp is sitting next to the lake, watching the sun set, admiring the beautiful clouds that God paints for us to see. We are opening our Bibles and writing in our journals the message being shared on the rocks, we are watching the life on the lake get quieter and quieter, and are sitting in an atmosphere filled with God’s presence.
The presentation of the gospel jump-starts our week and then we dive into God's Word every morning at Power Hour, our all-camp breakfast devotional. The Director or Assistant Director share Scripture and integrate questions tied to our theme "Seated With Christ". This prepares our day before we jump into activities and helps us to focus on what is most important! Then after the hustle and movement on the island each day, we finish with Vespers, a sweet time of worship and a speaker. Speakers vary from counselors to guest speakers.
The cabin I am in this week is called Apache. Ages typically range from 15-17 year-old girls. This week my campers have been asking great questions about how they can become more personal with God. When asked generally what their favorite area of camp was, many shared that they really enjoyed Power Hour on Tuesday, about Psalm 23. They enjoyed hearing a specific message how a sheep needs to be guided physically and spiritually. We continued to talk about how they enjoyed learning in Vespers Tuesday night. We heard from a guest speaker who talked about the truth in relieving our burdens on the steps (feet of Jesus), but not having to fight them on their own. We can take our burdens to the steps with friends/family/mentors and bring them to God together. Lastly they mentioned our Wednesday night bonfire, a time to get them to think deeper about themselves and where they stand with God. All the while, they could have shared about banana boating, canoeing, fishing, waterskiing, campcraft, fitness etc. Instead they shared how the Holy Spirit is actively working and opening their hearts to apply the Scripture. I have come to see them listening intently not only with their minds but also their hearts.
All in all, I could continue to share the work of God throughout the time here at Tapawingo. The joy, the vulnerability, and all that is being shared throughout the day; There are so many adjectives that could be used to describe the island, but I run out of words to accurately describe it. It's amazing to see what a week here can do in a young girl’s heart. Here many girls take the next step to be a follower of Christ and hold their faith as their own.
As our verse this summer says: “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness through us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:6-7