Sky Lake News

The Power Of Camp: It Never Gets Old

The Power Of Camp: It Never Gets Old

It never gets old. It really doesn’t.

Without fail, time and time again when I’m talking with past and present campers about their Sky Lake experiences there is a common thread that weaves its way through the vast majority of these personal stories. And that is the idea that “I was able to be myself at camp.”

I’m no different. I too had the same exact experience as a camper (and still do as a year-round staff member!)

I recently had an invitation to speak at New Milford United Methodist Church and briefly shared with them a story of a pre-teen camper who went to Sky Lake for the first time once upon a time. This camper was the youngest sibling by a number of years, so learned about the joys and tribulations of sharing a room; got in trouble for eating peach cobbler with a butter knife on a cookout; properly dove into a lake for the first time; and stood on the shoreline of that same lake the last night of camp, tears streaming down his face while simultaneously trying to watch the candlelit cross float out into the darkness and remember all the words to Pass It On. Crying because he was going to miss this community that welcomed him with open arms, introduced him to new friends from all over the place, provided safe and unique experiences that allowed him to test drive being independent for a bit, and challenged to embrace his full self as a beloved child of God.

“Harvey the Hippo” recently had some fun on April Fool’s Day by posting this photo of our director, Matt, as a camper on the Sky Lake Facebook page. As you might notice, Matt truly felt comfortable to embrace his full, wacky self as a camper at Sky Lake Junior High Camp with Junie Ely back in the day.

After the service, one of our camper alums came up to me and said “until you said that that was YOUR story, Matt, I thought you were talking about ME!” A few moments later her mom approaches me and shares the same thought. (Interestingly, “mom” had been up front helping to lead the service so they hadn’t even chatted yet at this point.)

Connections of all sorts are made at Sky Lake. Connections with others of varying ages, abilities, and socio-economic backgrounds. Connections with young adults who are committed to mentoring campers. Connections with the flora and fauna of God’s magnificent Creation. And connections with a living God who calls us to go forth and transform the world!

Do these connections happen because there’s some sort of magic to be found at Sky Lake? As much as we’d like to think that sometimes, it turns out that a bunch of individuals committed to providing experiences that care for the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of all, is far more powerful than any kind of magic!

As I look back on my time as a camper and then as a staff member, I can’t help but think that the friends I’ve made, the skills I’ve learned, and the opportunities to grow as a Christian would not have been as robust had I not responded to my friend’s invitation to go to Sky Lake with him almost thirty years ago.

That’s the power of camp, my friends.

It never gets old. It really doesn’t.

Blessings on your journey. Hope our paths cross again soon!

Camper Alum and Director of Sky Lake

Posted on April 11th by Matthew Williams