I remember tent camping with my family at the family camp.
At age 8, I headed off to resident camp which meant a week away from home.
I believe I was homesick most of the week, but I endured.
Look at me rockin' the Camp Calumet Lutheran t-shirt (farthest on the right.)
After about 8 summers as a camper, I may have taken a summer away. I remember visiting my friend Jane at camp and as I left, I was camp sick. I realized that I missed being up there. There was something about this place, that I really wanted to return.
The summer of 1991 I was a JC (Junior Counselor) and lived in Girls Cabin 3 for the whole summer with co-counselors Amanda & Lisa. It was a summer that changed my life. For the next 9 summers I was up at camp for as much of the summer as I could be. I ended up spending several weeks a summer away from camp as I served at urban day camps in Providence, RI, New Haven and New Britain, CT.
It was through my summers on staff that many of my pastoral gifts were brought to the surface. Each summer I would return home and my mom would look forward to the young woman I continued developing into. I was able to share my faith with campers as we learned about God's love through Bible study, games, and crafts. I was able to question my faith as deep conversations happened with other staff members and our relationships with God and with another deepened.
I think what impacted me most was that camp was a place I could truly be myself. Whoever I thought I needed to be in school or back home was different than the confidence I had in myself at camp. By seeing my confidence grow, I continued to try new things, I learned about being a servant leader and how to teach God's love to kids and adults. I took on more and more leadership positions.
Camp Calumet has given me so much or should I say, pulled so much out of me. It has brought to the surface the God given gifts I have for ministry and day-to-day life.
The gifts that I share with the youth at Trinity were nurtured and lifted up at Calumet.
The comfort I have with teaching and leading adults were discovered at Calumet.
The way I share what I believe and how I live as a Lutheran was deeply formed through all my experiences as a camper and a staff member at Calumet.
My love for camp and understanding of its importance has led me to serve on the Board of Directors at Bear Creek Camp (the Lutheran camp in my synod.)
So now I answer the call to give back, to see all that has been pulled out of me and help as many kids as I can have the same experience.
On September 15-16 I will participate in Reach the Beach, a 200 mile relay race, as one member of a 12 person team. Over two days, we will cover 200 miles, laugh, run, sweat, sleep? and run some more. Everyone on my team is running for Calumet. We are all seeking donors to reach our goal of raising over $100,000 for the campership fund at Calumet. That means every penny we raise goes into a fund to get kids to camp so that no child is denied a camp experience for financial reasons.
Check out my fundraising page Calumet Reach the Beach to read more about the 72 runners working together the reach the beach all while helping kids reach camp.
My personal goal is to receive donations from 75 different donors/families each with a donation of $25. I believe I know 75 individuals or families who have experienced Calumet itself, or have experienced Calumet through my ministry, collegiality or friendship.
If you are able to donate $25, that would be fantastic! If you wish to donate more....awesomesauce!
If you can share this with others willing to donate, that would also be great. It's all about kids going to camp. It's that simple.
Updates about my training will be here from time to time as will reflections after the adventure in September.
Thanks for reading.
Until the next post...