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.
Stephanie Rustem, a former camper and staff member at Camp Henry, took a moment to look back on all her years at Camp Henry and has a wonderful story to tell from her experiences!
From Caterpillar to Butterfly: How Camp Henry Changed My Life
It isn't every day you get the opportunity to share memories from one of your favorite places with the rest of the world, but I am one of the lucky few who has been given that chance.
During my last few summers working at Camp Henry, campers and staff were likely to find me chanting at the top of my lungs, eating out of my cabin's "gut bucket", pulling snacks out of my pocket, or even refraining from showering for an entire week in the name of "stink". I was, and continue to be, confident and comfortable in my own skin whether it's covered in paint or clad with a 1980s frock.
Many people today would probably be surprised that I was not always a lover of my own quirks nor did I always have the confidence to crawl on stage during the rules of flashlight tag. Those with whom I worked during my first summer as a counselor in 2007 probably remember me as a shy, quiet person who laughed often, but only spoke out of necessity. I was always cheerful, but found myself intimidated by the seemingly outlandish traditions and high level energy that the other staff members managed to bring from the first day of staff training.
I knew that camp was a judgment free zone since I had experienced it first-hand as a camper. However, I kept to myself for fear that my true quirkiness was beyond the tolerable level of "weirdness" that was camp. As a high school student, I had allowed myself to fade into the background and preferred being overlooked and invisible over taunted and teased. I had unknowingly built an armored wall around myself. Given how shy I used to be, to this day I could not tell you what possessed me to apply for a counselor position in March of 2007 as a 19-year-old kid without a single friend on staff. Perhaps I wanted the challenge of growing into myself while helping kids find their own path in life. In any case, I was terrified.
With each passing day as a staff member, however, I realized that camp really was a special place where judgment of individuals' unique personalities was embraced—a place where "flaws" were viewed as positive attributes and "normal" was absent from our vocabulary. Rather than feeling ostracized for things I viewed as "abnormal" about myself, they were embraced. I could feel my wall coming down stone by stone. I was no longer afraid of letting others really see me. I felt myself transforming from a caterpillar into a butterfly.
What I learned during that first summer on staff was that the location doesn't make a place special, it's the people. I am one of the lucky few that has had the opportunity to grow up at Camp Henry as both a camper and a staff member. I've learned to love myself and share my quirks with the world thanks to the amazing staff members and, most importantly, campers, I now consider my family.
We often talked about the "Magic of Camp" which made it different from the "real world". What I'm realizing now, however, is that the true magic lives in the hearts of the campers that attend and the staff that support them. It can be carried away from camp and shared with the "real world". The camp experience does not need to begin and end at 5575 Gordon Ave, but a small piece of it lives on wherever you might go. Even though I am now a Camp Henry camper and staff alumni, I know that camp lives on in my heart because of the people I had the chance to know.
While at camp, I learned to embrace the "powdered donut" and that no matter how ridiculous a nickname is, it is ALWAYS a term of endearment. So, yell at the top of your lungs, run as fast as you can, and roll in the mud. After all, life is to be lived out loud, not hiding behind a wall.
If you allow it to happen, camp will change your life forever. Embrace its people and traditions and you, too, can become your own sort of butterfly.
Stephanie "Rustamove, Rustemus Prime, Crusty, Aunt Jemima" Rrrrrustem
Stephanie Rustem is currently the Assistant Director for the Michigan United Conservation Clubs Youth Camp in Chelsea, Michigan. She received her Master of Science degree in Community Sustainability in May 2014 and hopes to pursue a career in environmental education and youth development at the end of the summer. Stephanie was a two-time Camp Henry Teen Challenge camper to South Manitou Island at the ages of 15 and 16. She stayed in Dome Village before it saw its demise from a tree. She returned to camp at the age of 19 and served as a counselor, nature director, and assistant director over the next 7 years.
Over the past 8 years, we have had over 10,000 campers come to Camp Henry for summer camp and we have nearly 1,200 campers signed up to come this summer already! But why do they come? What is it that makes them want to come or return year after year? You can ask any staff member, past or present, and they can give you a million reasons why. But that still doesn't answer why the campers return year after year. So we asked several campers to tell us what they love about camp and why they keep coming back! We found that regardless of age, each camper fell in love with Camp Henry, tried new things, challenged themselves, made new friends, learned how to work as a team or cabin, and grew as a individual during their time here.
In our last blog post, you had the opportunity to hear from one of Camp Henry's long time campers, Molly Malnor, about the impact camp had on her life and why she loves camp. Here's another opportunity to get to know more about the campers that come to Camp Henry and why they love it. I'll let their responses do the rest of the talking. Here's a quick introduction to the campers, followed by their responses to our questions about why Camp is awesome and what they love the most!
Meet Allie Cole
Allie is 6 going on 7 in June and she first attended Camp Henry as a family camper at the ripe old age of 13 months.. The first time she went to camp by herself was when she was 5 and attended day camp. She is very excited to be attending mini week for the first time this summer. Allie found out about camp through her older sisters, Katelynn and Kimberly. Allie's favorite activity at camp is riding the horses.
Meet Katelynn Cole
Katelynn is 9 years old and first attended Camp Henry as a family camper at the age of 3. Yes, she is one of Allie's big sister! She has also been a day camper for 3 years and a mini week camper for one year. Katelynn's favorite activity at camp is skittle skattle battle because you get to eat skittles!
Meet Nadia Bowman
Nadia first came to camp when she was 9 years old. She has been coming for 8 years but she first heard about Camp Henry through her cousin. Nadia has been a camper for many different kinds of camps, from mini week to frontier, water sports, teen challenge and service crew. She is looking forward to her first summer as an AC or Assistant Counselor.
Meet Kurt Swieter
Kurt started coming to Camp Henry when he was 7 years old. This will be his 11th summer on the shores. Before attending Camp Henry, he spent time at his grandparent's cottage on Lake Kimball and couldn't wait to be old enough to come to camp. Kurt enjoys playing the various all camp games and loves a good game of four square.
Meet Catherine Croft
Catherine came to Camp Henry for her first summer when she was 14. She has come back three years in a row and is now looking forward to be an AC. She found out about camp through her friend, Ellie, and decided to come because it sounded like a fun place. Catherine loves going to Chapel every morning and looks forward to nights around the campfire, singing songs and watching silly skits.
Meet Raina Rodriguez
Raina, like Catherine, didn't discover Camp Henry until she was in her teens. But that didn't stop her from loving it! Her first camp experience was Olympics Week and she had a blast! Raina's favorite camp activity is outdoor cooking, making s'mores and hobo pies!
What is your favorite morning or cabin activity?
"My favorite is definitely vespers. It gave us a chance to bond with each other along with a brother cabin as well" Raina
""I like the nature hikes, especially the wetland trail" Katelynn
"My favorite cabin activity would have to be on the first night where we all dress up to a theme of our choice. One year my cabin was lumberjacks and another year we all dressed up in rainbow colors." Nadia
"I liked doing water-ski camp. I also love foursquare and outdoor cooking." Kurt
What is your favorite camp song?
"Country roads, Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, Lord of the Dance, Big Yellow Taxi and Washed by the Water." Kurt
"I love the "peel banana" song [banana song] and "frog in the bog" [rattlin bog song]." Catherine *you don't even have to know the name of the song to love it!
"The banana song" Katelynn
"The chipmunk song" Allie
"Sing Hallelujah to The Lord is definitely my favorite" Raina
Have you tried anything new while you were at Camp Henry? How did it go? Were you scared or excited to try it? Were you glad you tried it?
"Banana boat and slide on the raft. I was scared but after not so scared, but still kind of scared. Going down was fun but going underwater was scary." Allie
"Every year I try something new at Camp, from doing my first lake swim to walking blind folded along the high ropes course. It is so amazing to try something new at camp because you have so much support from your cabin mates and staff. It is very exciting to try something new. At first I was really hesitant but once I took my first stroke or my first step, I knew I could do it. My favorite new thing I tried at camp was going down the zip line on the high ropes course for the first time. I was so scared at first and it took some time, but with my cabin and counselor supporting me, I knew I could do it." Nadia
"The high ropes course. I was always afraid of heights, it was a great to challenge myself and know that my friends and counselors were supporting me. After I was done it was great because I felt as though I had conquered one of my fears." Kurt
"I tried the ropes course and the zip line. I was very scared because I'm not a huge fan of heights, but I decided that I would regret it later if I didn't try it. I was so glad I tried it because it ended up being a lot of fun and it made me happy that I was able to overcome my fear." Catherine
What is your favorite food at Camp?
"Pizza, chocolate milk, and ice cream on the first night." Kurt
"The outdoor cookout burgers!" Raina
"My favorite food at Camp is the French toast." Catherine
Who do you look up to the most at Camp Henry? Why?
"I look up to the counselors the most because they relate well to the campers and always know what to do when there is a challenging situation." Catherine
"I look up to Jake or Kelly the most and I look up to them because they always know what to do and they are really fun." Katelynn
"Who I look up to the most would be the counselors and the staff at Camp because all of them are so nice, patient, and selfless. They are the prefect role models to follow. I think those are ideal qualities in a good Camp counselor." Nadia
"Probably Kirty. Everyone loves her and she loves everyone. I've only had 2 weeks with her at camp but she has definitely inspired me." Raina
"Claudia the AC, because she is fun and she likes to play with me." Allie
"David. He's a great guy, he's interesting, he shares great stories and his faith. It is cool because even though he is in England, he still is looking out for me, or sending me a message every once I a while. He's always there to talk to. I really look up to him, and want to have a positive influence on campers lives just as he did on mine." Kurt
What is your favorite evening activity?
"Capture the flag, I enjoy the all-camp games." Kurt
"My favorite nighttime activity would have to be PJ sing. It's so much fun because we all just get to sing and dance to our hearts content." Nadia
"My favorite nighttime activity is the campfires because I like the songs we sing and the skits we get to watch." Catherine
If you had the opportunity to tell a brand new camper something about Camp Henry, what would it be?
"I would tell them that they just found their second home & they'll never be the same. Especially after the sacred ceremony on the last night or the beach bonfire if you do Olympic Week." Raina
"I would tell them my favorite things about camp horseback riding or swimming and what they get to try." Katelynn
"If I had the opportunity to tell a brand new camper something about Camp, it would be, to be your inner crazy self and don't be afraid to make mistakes or try something new. Camp Henry is a place where you can be yourself and no one will put your down for it. You can be crazy and others will be crazy with you." Nadia
"Try new things, go out on a limb, and enjoy every second of it." Kurt
"I would tell them that they are going to have an unforgettable week full of adventure, laughter, friendship, and fun" Catherine
"I would tell them that it is lots of fun." Allie
Do you want to work at Camp Henry when you are old enough? And if so, what job at Camp Henry would you like?
"Yes, I would want to be wrangler" Allie
"Yes, I would be an Assistant Counselor" Katelynn
"I would love to be a counselor, I always looked up to my counselors and admired them. I can say they have all influenced me to be a better person, and I would like to do the same for campers." Kurt
"I would LOVE to be a counselor if my future college schedule allows that to happen. I've loved my counselor and they're inspired me. I want to be able to do the same for other kids!" Raina
"I would definitely love to work at Camp in the near future. It would be so much fun! I think any job at camp would be great because no matter what job I would have, I would still be at Camp and be surrounded by a loving family." Nadia
What was your favorite part of going to a specialty camp?
"I did the [Teen Challenge] trip to Alaska in 2012. It was a life changing experience and I was able to share it with my best friends. It was cool because before the trip we had a meeting a to talk through the itinerary and meet everyone. Everyone knew everyone through other camp related experiences, but there were two girls new to Camp Henry. Before the meeting was over it was like these girls had been to camp for 10 years and they really meshed with the group. By the end of the 2 weeks we were all so close." Kurt
"My favorite part about going to these camps is participating in the activity for the week and meeting new people who are also interested in the same adventure as you are. Like riding horses for a whole week and wake boarding everyday. Teen Challenge is also really great because you get to experience new places like South Manitoulin and Pictures Rocks. Service Crew is really fun too because I get to give back to a place that has already given me so much." Nadia
"I have been a part of a teen challenge camp. My group went to West Virginia for a white water rafting and rock climbing adventure. My favorite part about going to the camp was meeting new friends, overcoming fears, and the crazy fun car ride to West Virginia and back. I also cooked a cake over a fire for the first time!" Catherine
If you had the opportunity to help other kids get to Camp Henry, for example, participating in IronKid, would you help?
"Yes! And we are doing IronKid" Allie and Katelynn
"I would definitely love to help other kids get to Camp because I think every child should experience such a wonderful place. It's a place where everybody can goof around, have fun, and make new friends. I would be very interested in participating in IronKid." Nadia
"Yes, I think everybody deserves to go to summer camp. This is the reason I am doing Camp Sunshine, I want to give people the opportunity to go to camp who are not usually able to."
"I would definitely help other kids get to Camp if I had the opportunity. I would help because I don't want anything to get in the way of those kids missing out on the amazing Camp Henry experience." Catherine
"I would! I've been a kid who has applied and used scholarships because my mom couldn't quite afford camp for both my brother and I." Raina
If you were in charge of Camp Henry for one day, what would that day look like? (You get to choose what everyone does!)
"Well, it would be a little bit of each activity that you can get to. I would cram as much camp in as I could!" Katelynn
"We would play capture the flag and have night chapel with all the classic songs." Kurt
"The only thing I would add to a perfect Camp Henry day is a huge paint fight!" Raina
"Lots of horseback riding and swimming" Allie
What is it about Camp Henry that makes you continue to come back each year?
"The thing about Camp Henry that makes me continue to come back each year is the atmosphere. The people I'm surrounded by give off an energizing vibe. Everyone is respectful and cares about one another. I learn something new every day when I'm at Camp Henry, and I have a blast doing it." Catherine
"I keep coming back to Camp Henry because I love having fun and meeting new people. And Camp is the perfect place to do that. It's also a good place to go and be a part of nature and see shooting stars in the clear sky. I enjoy singing, playing games, and swimming in the lake. Everything about Camp is just so wonderful; the people, the food, the activities, etc.." Nadia
"There is just something about it I can't put into words that makes it different from any other place in the world. So many different types of people coming together to share the best week of their lives in a happy Christian environment. There is just something really special about Camp Henry." Kurt
"It's my second home and I'm homesick for it all year. I can't explain why." Raina
Well, there you have it, straight from the campers! Who's excited for summer 2014?! We are! We hope you are, too! Spots are filling up fast, so if you haven't signed up for Camp Henry yet, better do it now!
If you are interested in learning more about Camp Henry, you can give us a call at 616-459-2267, continue browsing our website, take a look at our 2014 brochure or check our Facebook page! Here's a link to our summer 2014 promo video as well!
Long time camper, Molly Malnor, takes a moment to reflect on her 8 summers spent at Camp Henry before she enters her last year as a camper.
The first time I ever saw camp, I was much too young to be able to officially be a camper, but my parents and some family friends dropped off the kids who were lucky enough to spend a week at Camp Henry. It was always irritating being the youngest of three, but now I appreciate it more than ever. Thanks to my brothers who both went to camp sporadically through the years, I realized their fault, and started at age 9 and have gone every year since. That's eight whole years that my life has been influenced by the wonders of camp. Now, I am looking forward to pulling past the Nicely Center and lugging all of my camp baggage to a cabin for my last week as a camper, and while I'm sad to see my time go, I am more than excited to see what week six has in store for me this summer.
My first year I was in Shoshone Cabin, with Barbara as a counselor. Little did I know I was meeting friends I would see and get to know for years to come, and people who continue to inspire me to this day. Counselors and campers alike, I have learned so much about the world, other people, and myself. That is a feat. It really is. The ability that camp has to change people's lives never ceases to amaze me. For a long time, I really thought that camp magic was the power to make me a whole different person, more outgoing, fun loving, and overall, happier. In reality however, camp gives ME the power to be myself. Every week I've spent at camp has given me little pieces of information about myself, and that is a unique experience that I doubt most people will be able to have- unless they get to spend time on the shores.
Throughout this year I have been anxiously awaiting this summer at camp, and what that means for me, is looking at old pictures, and daydreaming about the wonders of camp. One of these camp throwback sessions, I was looking on the camp website, pretending that the weather was as nice as I wish it were, and reminiscing about my fondest camp memories. On that browse, I found the section of the site that gives the mission of camp. Ten adjectives are listed there: "Christian, Leadership, Tradition, Education, Diversity, Safety, Relationships, Teamwork, Sustainability, Fun". All are so astoundingly true. I also realized, that these were the qualities that I loved about camp, and their ability to shine through camp people. All ten are incredibly important to me; they are qualities that are influential in my day to day life and have been instrumental in making me who I am today.
Leadership is something that I've always strived to add to my personal repertoire. Looking at all the role models who have shown me their leadership at camp, it has made it so much easier for me to step into leadership opportunities in my school and community. Being an older camper last year gave me some insight into being able to cope with wild campers, lead activities even when people might not be thrilled to have been put in that group, and help to give advice to campers who might be going through tough times. Thanks to the most incredible staff people I've ever encountered, I've been able to find some resemblance of a leadership quality in my own personality, and used it to boost my success as a High School student.
Diversity is something special that camp adds to my life. I really try to put myself in situations to learn about different ways of life, and broaden my horizons, but most of the time, I have embraced diversity at camp. Diversity to me is being surrounded by people who have life stories that give you a new perspective on situations you may have never encountered. Learning about the various girls I've been so honored to spend time with at camp, it has taught me that people can rarely be judged fairly based on appearances or first impressions. This has also helped me want to get to know people who I may have been nervous to approach before my brilliant camp experiences.
Relationships are probably my favorite piece of camp that I carry with me today. Firstly I have gotten to know so many fabulous people who I still call my friends. Not only am I able to encounter new people and form relationships I otherwise might not be able to make without camp, but I have maintained many as well. It seems funny how there are people who go to my school, and I probably would not have had the opportunity to know well, but going to camp has made it possible. Making lasting friendships in approximately 45 minutes with the help of a plunge in the lovely lake Kimball has helped me learn to try and form bonds with varying people and taught me to be open to all different types of people.
The Christian aspects are also incredibly close to my heart because of how much they have helped me grow as a person, and camp always shows me that I still have so much room to grow. This past year, on one of the final nights of the week, my cabin sat in a circle on the floor of Ottawa cabin, and filled out each others last vesper papers. These sheets have a bare tree, and the idea is to fill out ways that your cabin mates are either rooted, or have grown. For our whole cabin people had little leaves labeled 'faith' which represents our growth in it, and that is the absolutely profound magic of camp.
Every now and again I remember all of the night chapels I have cried during, and I'm constantly thinking all of the worship that happens on the shores and I'm so glad to have been blessed enough to be a camper for these many years, and look forward to making new memories in 2014. Although I went to camp for multiple weeks for a few summers, I am now limited to just one as I struggle to schedule a hectic summer prior to my senior year. As I look forward to joining the group of my peers that have outgrown their days as campers, and even though many of the staff members have since moved on to different jobs and locations, my camp stories and memories, and theirs I'm sure, will remain favorites for years and years to come. Because as you may know, a camp friend is a friend forever and a day.
Molly will be a senior at East Grand Rapids in the fall and is looking forward to her last summer on the shores as a camper.
Christina Koehler, a long time camper and high school senior, reflects on her camp experiences and how it has affected her life. She encourages all of us to "go and find out for yourself" what camp is all about. Camp is a certainly best experienced first hand!
"Camp is a place like nowhere else. I want to say that if you look hard enough that you will find a place like camp, that makes you feel as good as camp, but trust me, you won’t. Camp is one of those unique places where no matter what you say or do, everyone around you will still love you. Between the campouts and the games, I met people who will stay with me for the rest of my life. I met one of my best friends seven years ago at camp and we are still best friends to this day even though she lives 5 hours away from me.
People always ask me what I love about camp, that’s actually what I am supposed to be writing about, but I can ever put into words just what it is that makes me love camp. The only thing I could ever tell my friends when they would as why it was so important to me is “Go. Go and find out for yourself, because I sure as heck cannot describe it."
I have gone on canoe trips, 2 UP trips, and an Alaska trip with Camp Henry. I have been blessed to be able to see the beauty that God has put on this Earth and I have been blessed to be able to recognize that it is God who put that beauty there to share with all of his children. I truly believe that without camp, I would not be the forgiving and caring human being that I am today. Matthew 7:7 says “Ask and it shall be given unto you.” Well I asked for love, acceptance, and happiness; God gave me camp."
Long Time Camp Henry Camper
High School Senior