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The following post is written by Julia Kim. Julia was a counselor and health officer at Camp Westminster for two summers. She also led Camp Westminster’s STEAM program. Julia graduated from Washington University in St. Louis last May and has been working as an EMT in the California Bay area while applying to medical school.
At camp, everything is unvarnished. There is no primping for an hour when the wake-up bell rings at a sharp seven-fifteen in the morning; playing tag on the field leaves happy stains of green; swimming in the lake – or tipping your canoe and taking an unintentional plunge – washes away make-up and is responsible for sandy footprints all over the waterfront porch. We leave fancy clothes, phones, and pretense at the wide red wooden gate leading up the driveway. Days that are usually crammed with our schedules of work, study, and commuting become wide open. We wake up together, share hair tips and toothpaste in the Greenies, and eat, sing, learn, and laugh as a team. Our biggest worries revolve around whether Dawn will give us seconds of her famous chocolate fluff, how to coordinate costumes for superhero night, and the means by which we must wage war against the placid daddy long leg spiders.
Life is simple at camp. Our society glorifies busyness and valuing yourself based on your productivity is a lesson that every child learns. We compete and complain and care a great deal about the world within our screens. Every expectation and misplaced priority shifts us away from the truth: that we are simply human, that we are simply loved, and that simple, loving human connection is what makes meaning. Taking care of one another – and in a real and true way – is a truth that we were built to live by, but that we need to remember again. In this thin place we craft pom-poms, mop the Greenies, climb the lighthouse rock wall, scrape the plates, play dodge ball, combat mosquitoes, lead worship, sweep the cabins, and giggle in bunk beds. And these things, small as they are, allow us to live and serve together in the way that I believe makes us better – these are the things that mean everything.
One of my favorite places in camp is the beach dock. Sometimes on my night off, I’d sit at the very edge, with Higgins lake lapping gently under the planks, and star-gaze. Without the light pollution of big cities, you can see stars that you never knew existed, and they are sparkles in a velvet sky. I never saw a shooting star before I came to camp, but when I sat on the docks, I saw one almost every time.
We’d like to thank Julia for sharing with us her prose on Camp Westminster’s values. In a world that pushes and pulls us to change who we are, Westminster helps campers to take a breath, and realize that who they are is enough for God. We love each and every child at Camp Westminster, and we want nothing more than for them to leave camp knowing they are beautifully and wonderfully loved. Let your child experience that radical love and sign them up for a camp session today.