I came to live on the shores of old Lake Kimball in the summer of 1990. I had applied for a counselor position, only to be told they were all filled. I was quickly asked if I would be interested in another staff position. The trip director position was available. I had all the qualifications except a CDL driver’s license. I would need to learn to drive a manual transmission bus. With the encouragement of both the Camp Director and Assistant Director, I took on the challenge and succeeded.
Going to a new camp, needing new skills to do my job, and only knowing the two people that interviewed me was kind of scary. But those nerves were quickly put at ease after the first few days of staff training. I felt welcomed by all the staff that had been there in years past and all the new staff, as well. My days were made brighter by the presence of Tom and Barb Halstead. If I was ever having a down day or had a question, they were there for me. All the positive role models at camp encouraged and supported me in every way to help me grow and become more self-confident. I left that summer feeling like I could accomplish anything I set my heart to.
With how much camp positively impacted my life, I hated to move on to a “normal non-camp life.” But I knew someday, when any child of mine reached camper age, I would return in some form.
In 2005, my oldest daughter was in 4th grade and started her summer camp experience on the shores at Camp Henry. She attended camp every summer from there on out through the summer of her senior year in high school when she served as an Assistant Counselor. In 2008, my happiness returned when camp started offering Family Camp. That year started the LOVE for camp with my family. We have three daughters, who then, were at the ages of 13, 3 and 14 months. This became the new tradition for the next eight years until the younger girls could go to regular camp independently.
In 2011, Katelynne, reached the age of attending Day Camp, then Allie joined the following year. In 2013, Katelynne went to mini week, with Allie again following the next year. In 2014, Kate attended her first full week of camp, and yet again Allie followed the next year. They have looked forward to every summer and always ask: “When can I go to camp this year?” “How many more weeks until camp?” and “Who will be my counselor this year?”
This year, both Katelynne and Allie will be spending two separate weeks at camp (One week in Frontier Camp and one week of Regular Camp). They are so looking forward to their camp time and their favorite camp staff.
I cannot even explain how much camp means to both my girls and me. The growth that I see with every session is amazing. The girls both become more independent and strong. They learn to be both leaders and followers. Confidence becomes a bigger part of their lives while at camp. The pressures of everyday life fall away while at camp, allowing everyone to relax and just be themselves.
Not only have I signed my children up for many years of summer camp sessions, but I have expanded their camp experience even more through year round program options. Both Kate and Allie have enjoyed going to Fall Fest and Winter Camp for the last few years, bringing camp into our lives all year long. They both participated in the Camp Henry triathlon. Plus the entire family participated in the 2015 Camp Henry 5K. We have also attended Mom and Me weekend for the past two years.
I have also been blessed with the opportunity to volunteer at camp in different ways (camp cleanup days and twice as volunteer nurse). It fills my heart knowing I can help the place that helps my family grow in so many ways.
I have also brought our high school cheer squad to camp for a team building weekend before their season started. For the last two years, I lead multiple Girl Scout troops on camping trips to Camp Henry. Both types of trips had rave reviews by both the kids and the parents that attended. Camp Henry just makes everything work.
Most recently we celebrated Katelynne’s 12th birthday at Camp. What kid wouldn’t want to spend their special day doing their favorite things at their favorite place?
Camp Henry is a special place. You walk onto camp’s property and it just feels different. You feel welcomed. You feel at home. You feel loved.
Thank you Camp Henry for touching our lives in so many ways!
Kelley Cole (Momma Cole) and family
I still remember the day in May when we met with Jake Jacobs from Camp Henry. Our students had previously attended a day camp; however, having experienced an overnight camp in a previous school district, our team was intrigued about what Camp Henry could do for our students. Shortly after the meeting, we decided to ask our 6th grade teaching staff if they were interested in going to Camp Henry for a 3 day/2 night camp experience. It was a resounding YES! From that point on, things moved at a lightning pace! Our camp experience was scheduled for the following October and we had so much to do. Looking back, I still can’t believe we pulled it off in going to camp for the first time in such a short time frame!
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Central Woodlands had never gone to an overnight camp before. However, the culture of our school is reflected in the preceding quote from Emerson. We are not satisfied in simply taking the road that we have always been taken; we want to discover new trails of experiences! At CW, our focus has been on supporting the development of Deeper Learning within our students. We saw Camp Henry as a vehicle to help our students develop these competencies.
The six Deeper Learning Competencies are:
MASTER ACADEMIC CONTENT
THINK CRITICALLY & SOLVE COMPLEX PROBLEMS
LEARN HOW TO LEARN
DEVELOP ACADEMIC MINDSET
Knowing at CW we work hard at developing deeper learning in students, Camp Henry was the PERFECT opportunity to support our goal to support the six Deeper Learning Competencies! The following are some proficiency indicators of the Deeper Learning Competencies.
• Adjust and try something different when my approach is not working
• Work productively with others toward shared goals, doing my part in a timely manner
• Offer respectful, specific, and helpful feedback to others
• Put effort into my work and persist despite difficulties
• Use reflection on my work to learn and grow
Collaboration and the ability to work with others are so important to us at CW. Camp Henry provided the perfect kick-off for our 6th grade students. They were able to spend 3 days immersed in experiences that helped them develop closer bonds with their classmates, foster collaboration, and help them develop perseverance in facing obstacles!
We were nervous in that this past fall was our first time taking our students to an overnight camp. We couldn’t have been more pleased with the staff and experience our students had while at Camp Henry. They were pushed to work with each other, problem solve and most importantly…have fun!
As a result of Camp Henry, I have noticed a big difference with the culture and leadership of our 6th grade class. Their time spent at camp helped to create bonds that have lasted the entire school year and provided so much positive leadership to our school. I see students collaborating in class and depending on each other…just like they had to at Camp Henry. I see students preserving through challenges…just like they did at Camp Henry. I see students displaying empathy towards one another…just like they did at Camp Henry.
My lasting memory from our Camp Henry experience continues to be from the Giant Swing experience. One of our students supported her classmates by being part of the “pull team.” However, she was adamant from the start that she was not going to have any part in trying the swing! It was “just too scary!” The Giant Swing was definitely out of her comfort zone! Through the encouragement of her classmates and the staff at Camp Henry, I could see her body language start to shift from someone who had decided to not try, to someone who was starting to think about giving the experience a chance. By the end, she had made the choice to try, to conquer her fears! She put that harness on and did it! Her smile was reason enough for us to be at Camp Henry! This was deeper learning at its finest!
I couldn’t imagine a better way for CW to support our Deeper Learning Competencies than to start the year at Camp Henry!
About the Author:
David Simpson is the principal of Central Woodlands, a 5th/6th grade school in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His passion has been in empathy-based hacking towards Deeper Learning in schools! In addition, David has been working with schools to creature cultures of thinking based on the work of Dr. Ron Ritchhart from Harvard's Project Zero. David received his Ph.D. in K-12 Educational Administration from Michigan State University with a research focus on teacher learning in informal and formal settings. Follow him on twitter at @davidsimpson512
This month on the Camp Henry blog, we’d like to introduce you to the four-legged members of our staff team: the camp horses! They are here throughout the year, offering trail rides and horse experiences to campers and guests. Keep reading to learn a little about each of our horses. Dates for trail rides this spring are included at the end of this post!
Age: 7 years old
Badger is our youngest horse at only 7 years old, and he’s also the softest!
Age: 14 years old
Breed: Pony of the Americas
Buster is Mr. Polka Dots around the barn, and loves to help riders learn new skills in the arena.
These gentlemen like to hang together along with Grandpa Steve.
Age: 17 years old
Known for his distinctive big nose and floppy ears, Max is sure to steal your heart. He is also the tallest horse at camp.
Age: 19 years old
Breed: Quarter Horse
Gideon’s slow and steady pace make him a favorite with beginner riders.
Age: 18 years old
Breed: Pony of the Americas
Henry came to camp with his name, and his heart of gold and patient attitude meant he got to keep it.
Age: 18 years old
The paint that ain’t, Phoenix makes up for his lack of splashy color with his love for trail rides.
Age: 22 years old
Don’t let his name fool you. Grandpa Steve still loves to hit the trail and cruise around the arena!
Age: 14 years old
Breed: Quarter Horse
Solomon likes to take things nice and slow, but he’s happy to hit the trails with some of our more advanced riders.
Age: 26 years old
Breed: Bashkir Curly
Taffy is our oldest horse, the curliest horse (look at that curl!), and one of the sweetest in the herd. She’s also the only mare!
These two guys are best friends, and can often be found together.
Age: 17 years old
Breed: Arabian Cross
Trooper can be calm and patient with beginners but is happy to step it up a notch for more advanced riders. His special trick is untying lead ropes.
Age: 16 years old
Breed: Tennessee Walking Horse
Zorro is gaited, which means riders will enjoy his extra-smooth pace.
Camp Henry is looking to grow our year round herd. We are looking to purchase or have horses donated with previous experience and training for trail rides. Selected horses need to be safe for beginner level riders, including children, and have a calm demeanor. If you, or anyone you know, has horses fit for a camp setting, please contact Rebecca at email@example.com or by calling 616-459-2267.
Camp Henry offers 1 Hour Trail Rides on our Camp Horses with our trained and knowledgeable staff.
Sign up for a Trail Ride by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 616-459-2267.
Cost: $20 per person
Ages: 10* - adult
(*riders 10-12 years old will need to have an adult rider register with them)
2017 Spring Trail Rides Dates and Information
Sunday, March 5 / 1 pm and 3 pm
Sunday, March 19/ 1 pm and 3 pm
Saturday, April 15 / 1 pm and 3 pm
Saturday, April 29 / 1 pm and 3 pm
Sunday, May 14 / 1 pm and 3 pm
Sunday, May 28 / 1 pm and 3 pm
Want to schedule your own Group Trail Ride? We’d love to accommodate you. Please connect with us to schedule a time for your group. Email email@example.com for more information.
By Linnae Satterlee
The Camp Henry 5K Trail Run may be just around the corner, but never fear! You still have almost four weeks to prepare for this fun and beautiful trail run.
If you are a novice runner, or just haven't laced up your shoes for awhile, here are my top 10 tips to get you to the finish line!
1. SIGN UP for the race! You will be more likely to stick to your training and keep your motivation going once you have paid money for a race.
Committing to a race is often the hardest part! You are less likely to give up when the going gets tough, or procrastinate until it's too late.
2. Pick A Purpose. Decide what your goal is, and keep that in mind during training, as well as the race itself. Whether you are trying to jump-start your fitness,
lose weight, hit a time goal, or simply just cross the finish line in one piece, know what you are training for.
3. Set a realistic goal. When I race, I always have 3 goals: my perfect-day, all-the-stars-lined-up goal, my moderate (and hopefully attainable) goal, and my worst- case scenario goal if everything is going wrong. That way I will definitely hit one of my goals, and I have a realistic idea of what I am hoping for.
4. Create a Training Schedule. There are a multitude of training plans to choose from, but the trick is to find one that is simple, easy to understand, and works for your lifestyle. I highly recommend the Couch To 5K training programs, they will take from from zero to the finish line with a common-sense approach to increasing mileage while still giving your body time to rest.
5. Keep Motivated. Finding a training group or running buddy not only helps to keep you accountable, it's also a lot more FUN!! Sharing your goals and scheduling your running workouts together will help keep momentum up and ensure that you stay consistent.
6. Don't do too much too fast. "Slow and steady wins the race." It's important not to push yourself too hard, too fast. You don't want to risk injury and not make it
to the race. A good rule of thumb is no more than a 10% increase in mileage each week.
7. Train in the proper gear. I can't stress this enough! Go to a specialty running store and get properly fitted for running shoes that fit YOUR feet. A good pair of
running shoes is the best investment you can make! Treat your feet right and they will protect the rest of your body. Select apparel with wicking properties, NOT cotton, so that your clothing absorbs sweat away from your body, and keeps you (relatively) dry.
8. Make your practice sessions fun. Vary your speeds while running, divide your run into walking, jogging and sprinting segments, and run on different terrains.
You will use different sets of muscles that will push your body in new directions.
9. Start Strong & Finish Strong. Positive visualization will help you before and during the race. While you train, picture yourself on the course surrounded by other runners. Keep your eyes on the prize as you complete the 5K and keep all of the reasons you decided to do it circling in your head. This will help you feel even
more accomplished as you cross the finish line.
10. Reward yourself! After completing weeks of training and finishing the race, treat yourself to something you've been wanting- a new running top, a massage or
pedicure, or something else that will provide enjoyment on your runs. Give yourself a gift that will help you to continue your efforts.
About the Author: Linnae Satterlee
Linnae Satterlee is a former anti-runner turned Marathoner. An avid runner, she has completed 12 marathons, multiple 5Ks, half-marathons and 25Ks. She is running in Boston for the 4th time on April 18, and plans to keep running Boston, the greatest marathon in the world, as long as she continues to qualify! She is passionate about running, and enjoys mentoring others and helping them achieve their goals.
By Kari Fuller
Why run or walk?
Everyone has a different reason for running.
Running is a social activity. Some love to be active with other people. It's what leads them to put their feet forward to even get to the start line. Some people talk the entire run. Some people listen. Some can solve the world's problems in 6 miles or less. Some get their problems off their chest and can go to the next race in life. A group of my friends decided to run a half-marathon together a couple years back and had the spouses babysit the kids and cheer on them on. This encouragement led to more spouses running or walking in the next years' race. The whole group was pretty sure the spouses decided to run because of the excitement of the race and not the idea that they were left behind to babysit.
Running is about that next goal. A friend of mine has the 25K River Bank run as her next goal – maybe a marathon next year. Will her body keep up with her goal? Will the challenge of time allow her to continue training? Will she be able to fit in the training? There are aches and pains in running. We get home from work tired, and then there is dinner to make and kids to help. There is also the example she is showing to her kids that exercise is important enough to set aside time to do. She is showing the kids she is choosing to be healthy. She is showing the family that she has a goal, will work hard to accomplish it and will try her best.
Running is about using pent-up energy and getting more energy. The brain is fuzzy. The day's events, problems and the to-do list swirls through the brain. What to do now? Sit on the couch? Watch tv? Do Candy crush? I don't feel any better a half hour later. After 30 minutes of running, and then a quick shower, I can continue with the day. So many times, the run was a hard to do, but then the energy increased after the run. The endorphins, the runner's high, the satisfaction of that day's accomplishments makes the brain felt clearer. I accomplished my run; I can accomplish anything. And that night's sleep is so much deeper.
Running is about getting the pet out of the house. The dog needs to be run. I have a 2 year old Labrador Retreiver and she loves the run. If I run 3 miles, she probably run 6 miles. We are lucky to run on country lanes, forest paths, and farm trails. I can let her off the leash and she GOES RUNNING. The joy in her body language and her uplifted ears tell me there is nothing better than this moment. We find a stream or a deep puddle and I see her swan dive into the center of the water. She gets out, shakes off, and continues... I swear there is a smile on her face. Joy, pure joy.
Running is about feeling strong. When the muscles are worked, I feel as if I can accomplish anything. I can do it. The run felt hard, sometimes I had to walk, but that is ok. I felt great yesterday, and today the run didn't feel so good; that is ok too. Tomorrow will be better.
I run to keep the body in check. Eating wonderful foods leads to a not-so-wonderful body shape unless intervention occurs. Running is my intervention. Without chocolate, I would enjoy life a little less and that is not ok with me. There is heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer in my extended family. I can exercise and do my best at keeping all those things at bay. No, I never struggle with aching knees from running; some people do. Yes, I definitely struggle with an aching back and hips. On the other hand, I would struggle with those parts of my body if I didn't exercise.
Running is about adventure. When running with my dog, I see lots of deer, turkeys, sandhill cranes, the beautiful sky, the breath of fresh air, the gorgeous sunrise or sunset. I find a new tree limb down over my trail. I find unusual things, good and bad. I found a hammer and dry wall trowel I can only imagine bounced out of someone's truck. I found $1.40 worth in can deposits. (I always tell myself to run with a bag but I don't. If you find a few cans by your mailbox, I found them on the run and didn't was doing a little cleaning.) I find trash. I find clothes from other runners discarding their extra baggage. I find dead animals and give them the wide berth like they will suddenly come alive. I find snakes in my path and jump high up and way over. I can only imagine what a nearby person thinks when I react after seeing a snake.
This year is Camp Henry's 2nd Annual 5K Trail Run and Walk sponsored by Celebration! Cinema. It is the Saturday before the 25K Riverbank Run in Grand Rapids, so our event is a great taper race if you are already training for the Riverbank Run.
One of the many goals of Camp Henry is to ensure campers have a chance to experience life-changing activities. The Camp Henry 5K Trail Run provides scholarships for the campers or school visitors who need a chance: A chance for adventure, a chance to use energy, a chance for life changing experiences.
Camp Henry's 2nd Annual 5K Trail Run and Walk sponsored by Celebration! Cinema is on Saturday, May 7th, 2016 at 10am. Join US!
About the Author: Kari Fuller
Kari is a devoted runner, wife, and mother. She is actively involved at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Camp Henry, and in the Grand Rapids area communities. She is currently volunteering her time to coach track and field and share her love of running with the next generation. She lives with her husband, Chris, two daughters, and their dog in the NW Grand Rapids area.
March flew by and so did the two weeks of April, thanks to the Winter Park Spring Break Trip!
March was filled with fun events, construction progress, staff development conferences, Camp Henry LIVE!, and exciting expos!
March 7-9, the year round staff at Camp Henry had the opportunity to enjoy fellowship, worship, educational sessions and more with camps from all over the state of Michigan at the Christian Camp and Conference Association Michigan Sectional Conference at Gull Lake. It was almost like camp for the camp staff! In between the professional development sessions, we were able to try our hand at Gull Lake's recreational facilties from rock climbing to basketball to pickelball and bowling. The biggest impact the conference had on our staff was the time together and the chance to take a short break to rejuvenate, refresh, and refill our tanks.
The Camp Henry Board visited Camp for their annual retreat and were able to try out the new high adventure elements first hand. They enjoyed a weekend of camp fun and thoughtful planning for Camp's present and future vision. They also lent a hand with building the new dining hall tables and benches!
On March 13th, we had our third Camp Henry LIVE! @ 3 Mile Project. We loved getting to see so many familiar faces and a lot of new ones too! Thank you to all who joined us for that night of reball, skating, basketball, volleyball, gaga, pizza and just plain hanging out and catching up!
Throughout March, our staff canvased several local expos and had the opportunity to make s'mores and share Camp Henry with the communities around us.
On March 23rd, Olive's hosted a fundraiser for Camp Henry's Scholarship Fund. Many folks showed up with friends and enjoyed an evening at Olive's to help send more kids to camp.
And on March 29th, a handful of staff traveled to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital and spent the afternoon bringing camp fun to the kids and families there. From new ways to play bean bag toss to melty beads, everyone had a wonderful time.
The first two week of April may already be gone but there are many memories that were made April 1-9 on the Winter Park Spring Break Trip. Here's a sneak peak at some of the fun we had.
Coming up in April, we are having our big Volunteer Work Day on the 23rd. Ryan and Tyler, our Facilties Team has a plethora of project that will help get Camp Henry looking nice and ready for the summer and spruce it up a bit for our busy spring. We'd love for you to join, all ages and abilities are welcome. Lunch will be provided! For more information or RSVP, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The very next day, April 24th, is our first Days of Adventure and Open House. Again, absolutely everyone is welcome to come spend the afternoon at Camp Henry. We will have a couple of our new high adventure programs up and running for folks to try as well as lawn games and a cool craft for the younger ones. We will also be leading guided tours of Camp where we will be answering questions about summer camp and year round opportunities. This is a great chance for returning campers and families to share some camp fun together as well as new prospective campers, parents and families to experience a taste of camp. Did we mention it's FREE? Yes, it's free! So we hope we see all of you there! No RSVP required!
April 24th is the last day to guarantee your T-shirt for Camp Henry's 2nd Annual 5K Trail Run and Walk and 1K Costume Fun Run. You can still sign up after this date but in order to guarantee your T-shirt, register by April 24th. Go here to sign up. The race is on May 7th, 2016 at 10am and the 1K Costume Fun Run is at 11am.
Between the school groups, who are starting to flock to Camp during the week, we will have a handful of weekend groups coming through for retreats. One of the retreats is Camp Henry's own Dad & Me! Started a few springs back due to the high demand/interest in having a weekend like Mom & Me but for Dads, Uncles, and Grandpas and it's quickly become a favorite of all who have experienced it. The last weekend in April, running into May is when Dad & Me is taking place. It's not too late to sign up and we'd love to have you experience it yourself. Click here for more information.
This year's theme is Go and Do and as we are gearing up for the summer, we can't wait til then to share this story with you. If you haven't seen the Go and Do Theme Launch video, watch it now. We asked staff members to share someone in their life that inspires them to be the best version of themselves and their answers ranged from their parents to their coach to their high school janitor. The main goal of this video was to show everyone that you don't have to be famous or rich or perfect, you can be you and share the love through your actions and words. Grace is a camper with an inspirational story and because she is so modest about her actions and words, when we caught wind of what she's been up to, we knew we had to share with you.
Year round staff member, Erica, a native California, went home over winter holidays to visit her family and the Hotalings (In case you missed it, we interviewed Kenny and Kelly Hotaling back in February). While at the Hotalings, she had the opportunity to watch their two older daughters play in a high school soccer match and was surprised to learn that Grace was not playing soccer that season. When she asked why Grace wasn't playing, she discovered what Grace was doing instead. Here's how Grace tells it.
"In August of 2015, my sister's seventh grade school basketball team was in need of a coach. My father gave me the idea of becoming the coach for the team. After long conversations with both of my parents, I decided to apply for the position at the end of the month. About two and a half months later, I was called into the school principle's office to discuss my application. Since I am a minor they couldn't hire me due to liabilities. However, they allowed me to partner up with another coach in order to work with primarily the seventh grade team. I had to make the decision of coaching or playing soccer. In the end, I chose what I loved to do. Coaching has been one of the greatest experiences of my life."
If you didn't catch it through all of Grace's humble words, she volunteered to coach her younger sister's basketball team so that they could play. Grace is a junior in high school; she has all the typical time demands you would expect for a junior in high school and she added coaching to her plate. In addition to growing her coaching experience, she also learned time management, as she had to keep everything balanced.
The hardest part of coaching was "the parents and managing my time efficiently during the school week. When I was not doing homework, most of my free time was spent planning practices, sending weekly schedules to parents, contacting the athletic director, researching new game plays, or meeting with the captains to reflect on the previous week of basketball." She dove right in and took her coaching position seriously and commanded herself in a professional manner by keeping communication lines open with all involved with the team.
Throughout the season there were highlights that included obtaining second place in their first tournament of the season and later in the season, playing the same team three times, with three over times, and taking first in their home tournament. The overall highlight for Grace as the coach was getting to "see my kids grow as basketball players and develop a true passion for the sport."
The season was not without some adversity for Grace as a coach. There were parents who voiced concerns over her age and inexperience as a coach to the athletic director who shared these with Grace and helped her overcome them. She certainly ended the season with a record to prove their concerns wrong with 19 wins and only 4 losses.
Grace stepped up and took the initiative when her younger sister and schoolmates needed help and despite the challenges of being only a junior in high school, she didn't let that stop her from doing a bang up job, taking responsibility for the team and players, and coaching them to the very best of her abilities. Here's what she learned and hopes for the future.
"I have learned that there are always going to be people who will try take you down but you must develop a tough skin and continue to persevere through. I have also learned that each kid is special in their own way and contributes to the team differently. It was a pleasure getting to form a different relationship with each of my 16 kids through the season. If I have the opportunity to coach my group of kids again in the upcoming year, the probability of me taking the position is high. I hope to continue coaching throughout my life because it is an unforgettable experience."
We hope you found this story as encouraging and inspiring as we did. Go and Do like Grace, who sacrificed her soccer season to coach basketball for her younger sister. Go and Do like Grace, who put others before herself. Go and Do like Grace, who overcame challenges with a positive attitude.
Grace is a Cali Kid. She was one of the first campers to come to Camp Henry from the Golden State 5 years ago at the request of the Hotaling kids.
Grace loves so much about Camp Henry and over the last 5 summers she has accumulated many camp favorites. PJ Sing, grilled cheese and grape jelly sandwiches, the Dining Hall, being rooted, and sacred ceremony, just to name a few. She enjoys being an ambassador for Camp Henry in her home state and loves being apart of the Cali Kids crew. She says, "it's interesting to see the Camp side versus the California/school side of each California kid. Generally at Camp, everyone is more enthusiastic, energetic, and friendly to everyone they encounter. I see a majority of the California Kids at the high school and a few of the younger kids everyday during practice, since I coach them in basketball."
Grace has a plethora of talents and interests including cooking, baking, playing musical instruments, crafting, running, swimming, hiking, and photography. She hopes to someday join the Camp Henry staff as a counselor and maybe even lend her fantastic photography skills full time as Camp photography/videography person during the summer! Her greatest hope for Camp Henry is for it to expand so that more kids can experience this freeing and impactful place.
If you know of someone who is connected to camp, be it camper, staffer, alum, who has a story you find inspirational that makes you want to Go and Do just like them, send us an email! We'd love to hear it!
February 2016 flew by and while it may not be the most active of months here at Camp Henry, we certainly had our share of new and exciting events. We celebrated I Heart Camp Day on February 1st before we headed out to the 2nd Camp Henry LIVE! Event of 2016 at Muskegon Winter Sports Complex. It was our first time hosting a LIVE! Event out there and the crew that came out had a blast on the trails, ice skating and cross country skiing.
On February 20th and 26th, we hosted two Work Days where several folks volunteered their time to help build new Dining Hall tables and benches. With the Dining Hall renovation and expansion, we need more tables and benches to fill the expansion area and allow us to seat up to 300 people. The new tables and benches are modeled after the style of the exisiting ones. Many thanks to those who came out and lent a hand and their time with this project. Join us for our March Work Day on March 11th from 1 pm - 6:30 pm.
Speaking of the Dining Hall, construction is progressing nicely and it's exciting to see the new profile take shape. The new chimney is almost complete and all the plumbing and electrical is coming along. New kitchen equipment is already getting ready for installation, like the new walk in cooler and freezer. And the hoods that go above the stove, ovens, and grill for ventilation are also on site and being prepped for installation. Idema Theater is also seeing big changes in its renovation as the Giant Hydrallic door frames have been installed and are awaiting their windows and siding.
Another exciting event that happened in February was the start of this year's camp garden. Maura and Emily (aka Sweet T) set up an indoor growing space and planted 36 seeds. The seeds just began germinating and we are looking forward to growing our garden in variety and size as we head through March. The Camp Garden is used as a place for school groups and summer campers alike to learn about how plants grow, the importance of eating fresh and healthy, and the value in buying local, in season, and/or growing your own to help reduce your carbon footprint with regards to food transport.
On February 26th, Jake and his wife, JJ, flew out to California to reunite with California campers on the Central Coast and spread the word about Camp Henry and its California connection. They had help from the Hotaling Family, Kenny and Kelly and their kids. A good time was had by all as they shared pizza and ice cream, pictures and videos of camp, and of course play several camp favorite games. Kids have been coming to Camp Henry from the Central Coast of California since 2011 and their numbers continue to grow as they return home and share their experience here with their friends in California.
Even for a short month, you can see at lot was happening at Camp! Now, let's take a look at March! In early March, the year round staff will head south to Gull Lake Ministries for the CCCA (Christian Camp and Conference Association) Regional Conference. Last year's staff attended and had a blast bonding with each other, going to workshops and learning new things to bring back to camp, and networking with fellow camps. We are looking forward to another pickelball tournament among ourselves. Which team will win the championship this year?
The Camp Henry Board is headed up to Camp for their yearly board retreat in early March and are looking forward to seeing the construction progress as well as spending time with one another. Shortly after the Board Retreat, Camp Henry's next LIVE! Event is happening at 3 Mile Project. Don't miss out on this FREE event and bring your friends, just be sure to RSVP so that we can have enough pizza for all!
We are making our way to several expos to share Camp with the local communities. We would love to see you if you want to swing by our booth and try your hand at one of our games. We'll be at Rockford Expo on March 19th from 9 am - 3 pm. That same day we will also be in Forest Hills starting at 9:30 am through the afternoon. On March 26th, we will stay super local by going to the Newaygo Family Expo from 10 am to 1 pm.
On March 23rd, Olive's of East Grand Rapids is hosting a fundraiser for Camp Henry's Scholarship Fund. Join us between 6 and 10 pm and 20% of proceeds will go toward the scholarship fund. Click here for more information. If you can't make it that night but would like to contribute, you can do so here.
To wrap up the month, several Camp Henry staff will head to DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids to volunteer their time and spend time with the kids on March 29th. These are pictures from last year's visit!
As soon as March is over, the Winter Park Spring Break Trip will get underway on April 1st as they start their drive across the country to the majestic Rocky Mountains. It's not too late to join us as we hit the slopes in Winter Park, CO for a week.
Kelly Hotaling holds one of the most important positions at Camp Henry in the summer months, Camp Mom. There have been many Camp Mom's over the years and each serves selflessly as a mother to all the staff and campers. Kelly gains 40 new kids each summer in the form of the summer staff and each week turns through 200 campers, many of whom started in Day Camp years ago and have aged their way into overnight camp. She's always available to help in those motherly moments, yet she is also tough as nails, a fierce competitor in any camp game, and one of the goofiest "big kids" out there. She took a moment out of her busy days in California to be interviewed and so here's a glimpse at the wonderful Kelly Hotaling.
How did you first get connected with camp? Over 10 years ago, our very best friends, the Jacobs said, "You should come to this camp that we run in Michigan. " And Jake (Jeff as we knew him) said," Oh, and Kenny, you should be the Chaplain." Our response was, "No, that is crazy.
A. We have never been to Michigan.
B. We don't know anyone in Michigan.
C. I have a career and a mortgage.
D. We have a 6 month old baby!
E. Kenny said," I am not a chaplain. I am not qualified to do that." Jeff said said, "That's ok, all you need is strong faith and be great with kids."
What did we do? We prayed about it and we said that sometimes the Lord is subtle and sometimes the Lord puts situations right in front of you... this was one of those times that He put it right in front of us even though there were so many reasons why we shouldn't go. We said, "OK, we will go for ONE summer!"
What made you want to get more involved? Once we experienced one summer, we were hooked. The love of camp was everywhere. We grew closer to God and knew that perhaps our "mission field" involved a boat, some arts and crafts, zany songs, face paint and a bucket of mud.
How many years have you been coming to camp? This summer 2016 will be our 11th!! (the picture below is from our first summer on the shores!)
Did you attend camp growing up as a kid? If so, where, what was it like, what experiences do you still fondly reflect on now? I went to a girl scout camp for 1 week and was so homesick, I was miserable. I went to a YMCA camp on Catalina island 1 week which was great.
What would be your "ideal' day at Camp Henry? Lake swim, chapel, DAYCAMP, rest period, arts and crafts, capture the flag, grilled cheese and tomato soup, night chapel and reading a bedtime story to a cabin.
How has camp changed since you first came? Camp seems to change for the better each year. The staff inspires me and camp each year. Camp is more God focused which is ALWAYS better.
Many people would consider what you do each summer, taking the whole family across the country, living in small living quarters, etc., kind of crazy, what do you say to these folks? Absolutely true...many people in the "real world" think what we do is crazy, and many are quite envious. Many wish they could do it. It's hard to explain camp to people in the corporate world. It is really hard for them to grasp what we do; driving across the country each year, living in cramped quarters, working for love, not money, eating in a loud dining hall each meal, and being filled with unimaginable joy. I say that I'm so blessed that we have jobs that allow this to happen. Financially, it isn't perfect for us, but I always say that we do it as a memory maker, not a money maker.
What roles have you served/do you serve while at camp? Camp mom, day camp director, arts and crafts, dish washer, cook, driver, chaperone, lifeguard, medical assistant, referee
How has going to camp each summer effected your daughters? Oh my goodness! They are confident, Jesus loving, smart, adaptable, tolerant, athletic, grounded, caring young ladies much because of camp. They have perspective and goodness that I truly credit to Camp Henry. Their true red heart friends are from Camp Henry. They have had the most amazing roll models at camp which have helped mold them.
Any fun stories to share from your adventures across the country? Every year there are sooooo many. Arches National monument, Mt. Rushmore, hail storms, tornados, broken legs, sick kids, camping, Women's World Cup in Vancouver, Yellowstone National Park, mad libs, movies, books, stupid car games, visiting family in Colorado, playing songs in the car, laughing so hard that we all need to pee, having ice cream in each state we visit, Vegas, visiting family in Chicago, visiting friends in Colorado, exploding yakima box on I-80 with Emma driving, 112 degree heat in the desert, passing the "Pure Michigan" sign when we enter Michigan, and passing the "Welcome to California" sign when we return.
Any fun camp stories to share? Sooo many! The year of the great Blue House Flood, fixing the sewer with a "jump rope", living in same house as the Jacobs, staff camp out in the rain when it was raining inside our tent, super secret missions with JJ, Christmas carols, Christmas Santa on the Jetski...too many to list!
What do you do for a living outside of camp? I'm a physical therapist, mom, classroom volunteer, and coach
What are some of your hobbies outside of camp? Run, soccer, ski, read, movies, hike
Favorite camp meal? grilled cheese and tomato soup
Favorite camp activity to lead? Day camp talent show
Favorite camp activity to be a part of? Day camp talent show, waterfront activities, vespers
If someone was not sure whether they should send their kid(s) to camp, what would you say to them? I can speak as a mother that I have seen my own children thrive at camp and truly be the best version of themselves. The best part is when I see that version spill over to their everyday life which happens a lot. I see Jesus living in them. I experience their tolerance, their kindness, their bravery because of their experiences at camp.
What is your hope for Camp Henry's future? I hope that Camp Henry continues to grow, thrive and keep Jesus first.
What is your hope for your future with Camp Henry? I hope I'm there till I'm 100. :)
Kenny Hotaling, a key member of the Camp Henry's leadership summer staff, sat down with us...er, technically with his computer since he and his family live in California...and took the time to answer a barrage of questions about his 10 (soon to be 11) summers at Camp Henry. His presence at Camp is noted in his hard work, his kindness, his fatherly compassion for the staff and campers alike, and his humor. If this interview doesn't have you chuckling, then you should come spend some more time with him on the shores this summer.
How did you first get connected with camp? Sitting around the Jacobs' dinner table here in California, my response to Jake's question was something like this" "What??? Chaplain? I've never been one before! Do I have to wear a collar or would the outfit from Princess Bride be ok?"
What made you want to get more involved? Sometimes God answers prayers immediately. As I began to consider whether my family and I should relocate to Michigan for the summer, with a newborn (Jane) mind you, He told me repeatedly that he wanted to challenge me by talking to campers about my experiences with God, my relationship with God, how God loves you, and how great it is to have God directing your life. I was nervous that I would blow it, but listened to God anyway. I sure am glad I did... for so many different reasons. It clearly showed me how big He is and how small I am... but I can still make a difference for His kingdom.
How many years have you been coming to camp? Year 11 this year! We've gone through a couple sets of tires, many oil changes, and a transmission, but have every intention to return for 12.
Did you attend camp growing up as a kid? If so, where, what was it like, what experiences do you still fondly reflect on now? I went to Rainbow Trail Lutheran Camp as a teenager, and it the spot where I finally understood what having a personal relationship with God is really all about. I found out that it was so much more than the "stand up and the right time, sit down at the right time, and repeat after me..." church experiences. What I remember most was the "peace that passes all understanding" as well as the friendship of another camper and the guidance of our counselor. John 3:16 became a part of my heart.
What would be your "ideal' day at Camp Henry? No such thing exists as there are infinite answers to the ideal day. Despite all the uncountable number of wonderful/funny/sad/life changing/challenging/ridiculous/inspirational/powerful moments that have already happened, I know that God has even more in plan to make room for additional entries into the "ideal" day.
How has camp changed since you first came? Camp changes every summer; sometimes dramatically, sometimes, subtly. Camp isn't supposed to stay the same. We can always get better, get kinder, get closer to God, and make more headway to making this earth like He intended.
Many people would consider what you do each summer, taking the whole family across the country, living in small living quarters, etc., kind of crazy. What do you say to these folks? Yep. Nailed it.
What roles have you served/do you serve while at camp? I am just a humble "Happy Helper"- friend, chaplain, musician, mechanic, researcher, driver, reader, lifeguard, belayer, encourager, fire builder and plumber. I almost got the plumbing figured out for the bottom of the Blue House :) Maybe next summer.
How has going to camp each summer effected your daughters? Camp have helped us immeasurably parent our children. It is impossible for me to comprehend how all these summers have had an effect on my daughters. Likewise, it's impossible to comprehend what they would be like without all of those wonderful summers. What I do know is that my daughters are smart, confident, kind, athletic, beautiful servants who love the Lord and others. I am so thankful for Camp Henry for all it has done to help shape Emma, Grace, and Jane.
Any fun stories to share from your adventures across the country? Nebraska is horawful (horrible + awful = horawful). What's the best thing that ever came out of Nebraska? I-80! Uncountable rows of corn for hours is all one can see. But, out of necessity, a new car game was created: Corn Wars! The game is played by naming a corn type product. For example, Corn on the cob. The next person needs to name another- Corn Pops. It turns out there are quite a few corn products. Let's see how many you can come up with!! Hours of entertainment! By the way, do you know what the "N" on the side of the University of Nebraska football helmets stands for? Knowledge!
Any fun camp stories to share? A king calls for his servant. The servant asks what the king needs. "Bring me my Royal Papers!" he shouts. It turns out his royal papers aren't recycled papers from the office, nor are they some of the left over sheet music from the Theater. It turns out what he really needed was some Toilet Paper!!! Oh! Those Royal Papers!! Hilarious!!!
What do you do for a living outside of camp? I am a 17 year veteran public school teacher. I teach in an integrated classroom that focuses on math and science. It is a STEAM school that is heavy on engineering and computers so the math and science that we experience is applied to some sophisticated capstone projects. It's a blast going to work each day as I work with some very smart and motivated teachers.
What are some of your hobbies outside of camp? I have recently rediscovered my love of mountain biking! I'd ride everyday if I could. In addition, I also read a lot of non-fiction. Lastly, I am plowing through the Office on Netflix. Michael is so uncomfortably funny.
Favorite camp meal? Sausage patties. I eat the entire red basket.
Favorite camp activity to lead? Night Chapel. It's a blast to see God go to work in that sacred and beautiful place.
Favorite camp activity to be a part of? Christmas week's PJ sing. If you haven't heard Away In a Manger camp style... well, you are missing out.
If someone was not sure whether they should send their kid(s) to camp, what would you say to them? I completely understand! Having your kids away from you for an entire week! Super scary. However, this week I promise that your child will experience God's love and I also promise that we will take tender loving care of them.
What is your hope for Camp Henry's future? Someone once asked a question about my church here in California. They asked, "If this church closed down, would anyone care after a couple of years?" It's a pretty interesting question. Now, ask the same thing about Camp Henry. Presently, in my opinion, there would be an uproar if Camp closed! So that's my hope for the future. If in 10, 20, 50, 100 years from now, Camp Henry closes... there would be an uproar!
What is your hope for your future with Camp Henry? I hope they hire my back as a Happy Helper!
"If you want to make a difference in someone's life, you don't need to be gorgeous, rich, famous, brilliant, or perfect. You just have to care."
This summer, Camp Henry invites you to explore what it means to Go and Do. As you come to camp, our hope is for you to be encouraged to extend God's love and grace through your passions and individual gifts.
Much of our inspiration for this theme comes from the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37). We are motivated by the acts of this ordinary Samaritan who went out of his way to care for a stranger in need. What really catches our attention are the two high rulers of the church who passed by this man on the side of the road before the Samaritan arrived.
Jesus later asks "which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man...?"
The expert in law replied "The man who was kind to him."
Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise"
Who, in your life, inspires and motivates you to be the best version of yourself? Your parents? Your teacher? Coach? Counselor? Dog? Whoever it is, continue to discover why that is and go and do likewise so that you can be an inspiration to others in need.
Through simple actions of being generous, choosing joy, and accepting others, you will easily get a glimpse of what it means to live in the image of Christ.
We are so excited for this summer and cannot wait to have you here!
By Adam Swenson, Program Director
'Belay is on' here at Camp Henry! It has been an exciting start to 2016 as we welcome so many new great elements to our high adventure program. With a brand new high ropes course, a giant swing, leap of faith, dueling zip lines, and a Quick Jump out of the trees, there is something for all ages to enjoy off the ground and we are excited to share the adventures with you!
Whether it's facilitating team building with 6th graders or sending corporate groups down the zip line, the challenge program has become my favorite aspect of camp. I enjoy having a front row view of seeing the incredible growth through everyone's efforts as they work together towards a common goal. Being a part of this transformation is one of the most rewarding parts of my job and I love pouring my energy into helping folks leave camp feeling like a different, better, more confident individual or group.
The terms "Challenge Course" and "Team Building" have become buzzwords in recent years, and they have many connotations. Whether you're a corporate group, sports team, or school classroom, these challenge exercises are important not just for the immediate experience of the activities, but also for the group skills, communication and bonding that result. The activity, be it an obstacle course or 'Hot Chocolate River', is a high-impact learning experience. Team building programs provide realistic opportunities that empower individuals to contribute to their goals and feeds into our passion for providing life changing experiences.
The main goals of team building are to improve motivation, productivity, and build relationships among peers. Taking folks out of their normal work/school setting helps groups break down barriers, eliminate distractions, and ultimately, have fun.
As we are continuing to grow in this area at camp, so too must the staff running the show. In January, I had the awesome opportunity to travel down to Austin, Texas for the annual ACCT conference. ACCT stands for Association for Challenge Course Technology. The ACCT establishes and promotes the standards for effective challenge course programs such as safety procedures, programs, and element designs.
Facilitators and builders from all over the world met for the week to engage in workshops and share ideas as well as their experiences, which was a great networking opportunity for Camp Henry. During this time, I attended several sessions that highlighted areas such as effective debriefing tools, how to adapt initiatives to include everyone regardless of one's physical or cognitive abilities, and researching new material to keep returning groups invested.
Our keynote speaker for the conference was Pete Nelson from the show "Treehouse Masters". We are all familiar with him being 'the treehouse guy' and it was great hearing his background story of pursuing this unique and awesome craft. Like Pete and the rest of the attendees, it was refreshing to hear that we share so many common goals and reasons as to why we put so much effort into building zip lines and challenge courses.
If you have yet to participate in any of our challenge elements, I invite you to give it a try, whether it's with a dozen of your friends or an organization you're involved with throughout the year. You don't have to go to Cedar Point to experience the thrill or sit through a workshop on how to be a good team player, just come to Camp Henry! The adventure awaits.
One month of 2016 has already passed and we are on to February! There are a lot of great things happening at Camp Henry and we want you to know how you can get involved or at least stay up to date! Before we share the February events, let's take a quick look at what happened at Camp Henry in January 2016!
The Dining Hall and Theather renovations are moving along even in the winter conditions. Here's a look at the progress!
On Jan. 17th, the first Camp Henry LIVE! of 2016 at Rosa Parks was postponed to the 24th due to extremely low temperatures. The 24th was a hit with a good crowd of Camp Henry campers and staff skating together. Camp Henry year round staff memeber, Emily Thickens, better known as Sweet T, even tried her hand - or should we say feet - at ice skating for the first time!
On Jan. 23rd, Camp Henry set up at DeVos for the Kids and Family Expo and made well over 500 s'mores for kids and adults alike. Its also estimated that we put at least 250 temporary tattoos on the kids. It was wonderful to see some returning campers and also have the opportunity to share the joy of Camp with lots of new, young families. Staff members also found a moose on the loose drinking juice, who they believe is named Fred.
February starts quickly with a celebration of Camp Love! February 1st is I Heart Camp Day! Get involved by posting a picture or video of you or you and some camp friends with a sign that says "I heart camp!" Add the hashtag #iheartcampday and put it up on all of your favorite social media networks. Don't forget to tag Camp Henry or post to our wall so that we can see your love of camp! This is a global day of camp celebration so don't miss out on your chance to proclaim your camp love! Here's two fun videos - one is by your lovely Camp Henry summer staff from 2013 and the other is by the creators of I Heart Camp Day - to get you in the spirit!
February 5th is the day to join Camp Henry at Muskegon Winter Sports Complex for the 2nd Camp Henry LIVE! event of 2016. For only $15 you get to pick two activities from cross county skiing, or trail ice skating to sledding, or snowshoeing. Transportation from Grand Rapids is available at no extra charge but space is limited. This is a great chance to bring out a friend who hasn't been to Camp Henry before because both of you will score some toasty Camp Henry swag for coming! All are welcome, all ages and abilities! We hope to see you there! Click here for more information or to sign up. Don't miss out on your chance to sled 20 or more at a time with us!
On February 20th and February 26th, we are calling all who would like to volunteer their time to help build new dining hall tables and benches! If you have any of the following tools, please bring them with you: drill, skill saw, and square. All skill levels are welcome! To learn more or to let us know you are coming, please email email@example.com or call 616-459-2267. Feb. 20th is from 9 am - 3 pm with lunch provided. Feb. 26th is from 2 pm - 8 pm with dinner provided. Come for the whole time or just part! All helping hands are welcome!
Also happening at the beginning of February is the start of registration for Camp Henry's 2nd Annual 5K Trail Run sponsored by Celebration! Cinema. Don't miss out on the chance to support Camp Henry's Scholarship Fund AND get out and get active in Camp's gorgeous natural setting! For more information, click here. If you are ready to register, go here! And if you would like to learn more about volunteering, we've got a spot for you here!
One more thing to be looking forward to this month is the launch of the 2016 Theme! Check back here for new blog posts this month on Adam's trip to Texas for the ACCT Conference and an interivew with Kenny and Kelly Hotaling.
By: Liz Allard
"We can do anything with a couple of sticks and a bucket of mud!" If you've ever sat in on a staff meeting with Jake at the helm, you've likely heard this phrase echo off the paper thin walls of Millar. I think about this phrase often and can't help but smile. Camp Henry is like an amoeba. It engulfs you with its inclusivity and makes you feel all of the feels-fun, happiness, empowered, confident, loved-the list of feels could easily take up this entire blog post. These feels, however, aren't derived from the buildings, the high ropes elements, the banana boat, four square balls, or any other resource we think is necessary to keeping the good times rollin'. Although all of these items are excellent, the Magic of Camp shines through when the resources are absent and we, as campers and staff, are left to our own devices.
Plain and simple, Camp taught me the definitions of resourcefulness and resiliency. I remember once, as a camper, walking into Arts and Crafts during week seven of Camp. The room looked post-apocalyptic. The cupboards were bare, except for a couple of small bottles of primary-colored paint that stood like the last few campers during a game of British Bulldog. Random cuts of yarn and string were strewn about and old wax was hardened in beef stew tins on hot plates from weeks of candle making. This could have been a moment where my counselor threw her hands up and directed us outside onto the A-field for chill time, but instead, she instructed us to go outside and find a rock. Meanwhile, she began gathering the remaining paint bottles, sponges, and any decent brushes and plopped them onto the center of the table.
When we returned from collecting our rocks, she exclaimed with that 'fake-it-'til-you-make-it' excitement, that we were going to paint our rocks! This had the potential to be a totally lame activity, but in true Camp fashion, us campers humored our counselor and got way too into painting our rocks. We even did a gallery walk of our finished artwork at the end of that afternoon activity! My painted ladybug rock is still used by my Dad as a paperweight in his office.
Flash forward to when I was a counselor during the summer of 2009. It was Pirate Day at Camp. These themed days started popping up at Camp once a summer as soon as a certain counselor (*cough* Kerry Drake) discovered, in our staff manual, that Camp used to host Paul Bunyan Day, and insisted we bring it back. When campers arrive at Camp, they come with whatever they have, unlike many of us counselors who come equipped with an entire closet filled with costumes that can morph into whatever theme we desire.
On Pirate Day, which ended up being another Olympic Day with pirate tendencies, it only seemed fitting that my entire cabin look pirate-appropriate. I began pulling out any pirate-ish clothing from my costume closet for my cabin of youngsters and drawing on face paint like our esteemed pirate colleague, Captain Jack Sparrow. Considering my costume closet was ill-equipped to dress 12 pirates in one day, I watched as campers pulled out items - scarves, striped shirts, bandanas - from their own bags and shared those items amongst themselves. We looked like a bunch of salty dogs by the end of rest period that day, and only spoke in pirate talk from then on. Being the youngest of the Girls' Village cabins, we weren't expecting to be the champions of all things pirate that day, but we certainly had the most fun. As my cabin and I got ready that day, I was reminded that at Camp, you don't have to have everything to be everything.
When I think back on my time at Camp Henry, most of my favorite memories revolve around instances where a camper or staff channeled this attitude of resourcefulness to create something unexpectedly awesome. Take morning activities during themed weeks at Camp, like Christmas in July. As you well know, there's no snow during the month of July in Michigan, but counselors, myself included, always insist on sledding as a morning activity, whether you're slip n' sledding on a soapy plastic tarp on the hill near the old corral or sledding on plastic mattresses down the stairs of Millar. Creating activities like these prioritizes imagination backed by innovation.
Like slip n' sledding, I definitely can't forget about the time that Jake wanted to make a go of a Camp Henry Rodeo as an evening activity. Us counselors were tasked with coordinating different events from line dancing to barrel racing to lasso practice. At the end of this newfound evening activity, Jake lined up the entire camp on the B-field to make the announce – uh, rather, share that the final event would be cattle roping! We all stopped and looked around at each other. To the best of our knowledge, camp didn't have any cattle. Jake then explained that two staff – Derek Whaley and Todd Boynton – would play the role of the cattle. Derek and Todd would have a ten second head start before the ENTIRE camp was to chase them down and lasso all four limbs together. I stood back and watched as Derek and Todd tore off across the B-field with hundreds of campers in tow. In an instance, dozens upon dozens of kids engulfed them as they disappeared amongst the pile of campers. When the campers cleared away, there laid Todd and Derek, disheveled and smiling.
At Camp, there's never an "I'm bored" moment because we are always thinking about those couple of sticks and that bucket of mud. In today's world, where cheap distractions and entertainment rest at the tip of my index finger, I'm reminded of the value of my experiences at Camp. Camp challenged me to reach beyond perceived limitations and to fill every moment with intention, regardless of where I was or the resources I had on hand. Camp Henry is about taking what might be considered mundane and building extraordinary experiences with the perfect storm of resourcefulness, imagination, intention, and can-do attitude.
About the Author: Liz Allard
I first attended Camp Henry mini-week when I was eight years old. I remember showing up with the pack my mom used when she worked on a fire crew for the U.S. Forest Service. The pack stood a third of my height above my head and was packed to the brim. I wore my signature jean short overalls all three days and had Emily Clark as my first counselor in the old cinderblock Commanche Cabin. It rained all three days and one of my first memories from those three days at Camp was Jake on stage in Idema Theater screaming the words to “Singing In the Rain,” while the rest of us sopping wet campers screamed along with him. When my parents arrived back at camp to pick me up after those three days, I begged them to send me back to camp the following summer.
I spent eight years as a camper followed by six years on staff, during which, I met my best friend and husband, Derek. We married in May of 2015, surrounded by our Camp Henry family. I currently live in Alaska, which I first visited when I was 16 years old while on the Teen Challenge trip with Camp Henry. I am excited to help with the same trip this upcoming summer when the new crew of Camp Henry teens visit the 49th state in July.