Why Camp? Some words from our amazing Office Administrator, Jill Beever. That’s her at camp… the upside down one!
As a junior camper, I loved going back every year because it was fun, silly, and I felt so close to God, something I hadn’t felt going to church. It was always a safe place where I was welcomed and encouraged in my faith, unlike my small hometown where there was a huge lack of church-going kids.
As I grew older I, too, stopped going to church like all the other kids my age. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to go to church, but because my family was so busy, and without other kids church seemed lonely anyways. But I continued to go to camp every year and every year I wished that I would not have to leave camp, because it felt like leaving God. I loved camp as a teen because of the wonderful people that surrounded me and encouraged me to pursue my faith. It was a safe and supportive place, a place where I could get away from the social media and busyness of everyday life and replace it with campfires, fun games, and worship songs.
Camp has been a huge part of my life. I never would have considered enrolling in the Canadian Mennonite University if it hadn’t been for camp. And now that I have finished my first year at CMU, I have a better understanding of Christianity, the Bible, and my own faith. Between camp and CMU, I have made some lifelong friends that I treasure, and I love how they encourage my relationship with God.
Camp, and the friends I made through camp, truly shaped my life. See, the Bible camp that I have gone to for the past decade is not Camp Valaqua, but that’s because I am from Manitoba. I now find myself working at Camp Valaqua 1200km from my home. I found out about this camp through some friends at university who worked here.
So why would some kid from Manitoba move halfway across the country just to work at Camp Valaqua?
Sometimes I tell myself it’s because I’m adventurous, and my hometown seemed the most boring way to spend 4 months of freedom. But a more probable reason it that I find office work a lot of fun. But perhaps the biggest reason that I find myself at Camp Valaqua is because somehow I knew that it would feel like home. After realizing that I feel most at home when I’m around people from camp or from CMU, I knew that moving out to the middle of nowhere to spend 4 months living in a community of people I’d never met could turn into a very excellent summer.
After living here for a week, I can honestly say I am not disappointed. I love my job, the staff here is wonderful, and the camp is beautiful. I enjoy that fact that when I go for a walk in the evening I get to hear the river, an owl, or the wind instead of cars and trains. The people I work with are a lot of fun and are very enthusiastic about the upcoming camps. I’m excited to see all the kids laughing as they enjoy the activities that the staff members are putting hard work into creating.
So, why camp? Personally, it comes down to three points: self, community, and God. Camp helped me to discover who I was and wanted to be. In turn, I discovered how much I valued the Christian community and continue to surround myself with these friends. Both of these where simply parts of my walk with God, a walk that I probably wouldn’t be on if it weren’t for camp. And the best part is that all of this faith and fun happens in the great outdoors!