Camp News Blog

Camp DeWolfe Blog

Returning to My Camp Family

Posted on Aug 31, 2017

Well, where do I begin!?! This was my second summer working at Camp DeWolfe on Long Island. At first it was a bit of a tough decision to do it but I then remembered how much fun I had in 2016!! I am very glad I took the decision to return as a Unit Leader. It gave me a new perspective on supervising but, most of all, it allowed me to come back to my camp family and work in an incredible environment with new and old friends. I have now developed skills that I can take with me into the future. I am glad that I also was able to teach canoeing again as it gave me another chance to enjoy the Long Island Sound and appreciate God’s Creation within the natural beauty of the coastline!

Kyle Smith

All in all, I have made more friends and I am so glad to have served at CDW in 2017!

Kyle Smith
Male Unit Leader 2017

We’re God’s Creation and We are All Good

Posted on Aug 24, 2017

Working as a counselor at Camp DeWolfe for the summer has been a life changing experience. I have been gifted with the perspective, humor, activities, and spirituality of amazing campers who are brave, funny, unique, smart, and talented. I will never forget all the girls who came and made Great South Bay a home away from home. Whether singing the Taco Tuesday song before dinner, learning how to play and lose at Gaga every day, launching rockets after a week of fun preparation, or the silly songs before meals that found their way into our shower time because they were so catchy. All these and more memories will be with me for a long time along with the Spirit that every camper came holding in their hearts. The thing that clicked for me toward the end as I reflected during an insightful Devos, is that every single person at camp has Loved and expressed that Love in a special and powerful way. Whether it’s in riddles or jokes, side hugs and songs, or those hard times when I could be the shoulder when mom wasn’t there…all that was Love.

I learned patience and the very true fact that God is in all of us so we are All Good. There is no such thing as a bad kid. Only kids who need to be Loved differently, who challenge me to be Jesus for them. I appreciate the practice for when I go back to the Big City and have to work that into my daily life. These kids are magical. Society tries to take that magic and I saw some of it fading in the older campers, when we began to care about what others thought more than what God thinks. But the magic is still there, it just needs permission to break through and free us.

One of my favorite parts was daily affirmations in Devos when we would pick a girl each night for everyone in the cabin to affirm. So much honesty, positivity, and Love was spread and the girls looked forward to it every night. We need to do that every single day for ourselves and each other. I pray they walk away knowing they have permission to cry and feel those hard feelings because as we learned, Jesus got mad and cried too. But that we can move past the negative and not let it define us. I pray they walk away knowing they are Loved not for what they do or how many likes they get but because they exist and are God’s Creation and God didn’t make one thing that wasn’t Good.

With Love + Ubuntu,

Santana Alvarado (GSB)

All Things New – Experiencing the Body of Christ

Posted on Aug 17, 2017

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19)

The theme for this summer at Camp DeWolfe was “All things new”– The new things that we would try this summer, as well as the new things that God wanted to do for us and through us this summer. I had remembered last year’s theme revolving around courage, and we had looked at Ruth and Naomi, Abraham and Isaac, Esther and King Xerxes, and it had been  wonderful, as that was my first year at Camp DeWolfe. It was not my first year as a camp counselor, however, it was something much needed for me to hear, stepping into the new position as a senior counselor. With the support of Nate and Anthony, I was able to grow into the position and grow with courage. I was able to have the courage to try new challenges– the multi vine, the catwalk, the mohawk trail… The summer was so great and so strengthening for my character and my faith that I decided to come back for another year at Camp DeWolfe.

In this second year, I came back as a Unit Leader, and had been looking forward to what this year had for me. See, the prior year at Camp DeWolfe had been a stepping stone for me to grow in my confidence and to grow closer to God, but I also knew that God was not done with me yet. I knew that God wanted to do so much more with me this summer, and that is exactly what He did–all things new. It started with climbing the rock wall and the vertical play pen for the first time, all the way to the top. Then it progressed to building campfires, and even leading trainings. To top it off, it led to me experiencing what it means to be the Body of Christ. This summer, I learned what it meant to have an intentional community, that really cared and supported one another. We laughed together, we cried together, and we even prayed together. This summer, we died to ourselves in order to serve one another, and to push forward the vision of Camp DeWolfe– to have intentional community, to empower leaders, support spiritual formation, all while living in the beautifully crafted natural setting surrounding us. We became the Body of Christ when we did life together here and recognized that there was an even greater purpose to why we were here in the first place, and that purpose was to be the hands and feet of Jesus for all to see.

I can leave knowing that although God did really great things this summer, He is still not done with me yet, and wants to continue to do all things new this year when I go back to Nyack College for my Junior year. I now have the confidence of belonging and knowing that I am a part of the Body of Christ, and that I too, can be the Body of Christ to others.

Katherine Pena — Unit Leader 2017

8/9/17

Experiencing Jesus = Telling others about Jesus

Posted on Aug 9, 2017

Here at Camp DeWolfe, we ultimately have three goals that we try to fulfill; the first is making camp fun. Adventure Camp has simply been fun for all of us. Each hour of the day is filled with some sort of activity, and whatever it may be (kayaking, swimming, biking, arts & crafts, Christian Formation, etc.), the goal is to always be fun. It was a little sad to see a few of our friends leave at the end of week 2, but regardless, we have still had tons of fun this third week. I am sure we met this goal. Our second goal is to be safe. Seeing how hard the counselors work to keep each camper safe, parents, rest assured that we have fulfilled this goal as well. But fun and safety are only two of our three goals. Our third goal is that our campers experience Jesus in all of his goodness.

The theme of Summer 2017 is “All Things New” from Isaiah 43:19-21. We have learned and experienced so many new things. We have learned more about Creation, our stewardship of creation, God’s forming and shaping of us, new modes of worship, our response of worshipful living, and “Mishpat” community. On this third week, we are going over the holidays. We have learned about the Incarnation and resurrection of Jesus, the life and mission of St. Patrick, and our mission as ministers of the Gospel. In all that we have learned in Christian Formation and through each camp activity, we hoped for our campers to experience Jesus. Our God is lovingly and actively engaged in our life; from simply brushing our teeth to swimming in the sound, God is engaged. The goal of Camp DeWolfe is to experience Jesus in a safe and fun environment, and we pray that each camper did.

But there is another, understated goal we have in mind. Our final goal is that each camper take home what they have learned and share it. We want campers to remember the silly stories as well as the moments when God did a new thing in their life. We want campers to remember their time here and shout out all the good things that happened. We have seen God move and it is not a thing to be held inside to ourselves. Our experience at summer camp 2017 is our testimony that Jesus is alive and engaged in our lives. If Jesus has been so good to us these past couple of weeks, how could we not share it? To the Adventure Campers, may the Lord’s face ever shine on you and may you always remember His goodness as you tell others about it.

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (Isaiah 52:7)

Our Response to God

Posted on Aug 1, 2017

Camp DeWolfe’s theme for summer 2017 has been “All Things New.” Basically, God is doing new things in our lives constantly and we are to be observant and open to His new things. As the summer has progressed, I have been teaching about this over and over and over again. Being a seminarian who lives and breathes Scripture, theology, and ministry (obviously due to my schooling), I have begun to ask myself, “Why is life and the way we live it so important?” I study and know theology, but how does that affect the way I live? Here at Adventure Camp, we have been learning about the character of God and the new things He might do, but how does that affect the way we live?

This second week, we begin to learn about our response. What is the human response to God in all of His love, glory, and holiness? Worship. Worship is not simply the songs we sing or the Sunday mornings when we come together. It is also the way we live and love one another as the children of God. We have been learning new modes of worship such as writing our own hymns and prayers. We have innocently colored as worship and even spoken our stewardship of creation and life. We have learned to toss our sins away from ourselves and reconcile where we needed to. Our LIT’s especially have been learning about worship through acts of service. We have even learned that worship is central to humanity and that God solely is our object of worship. Our response to God is true, honest worship in spirit and in truth. That response is manifested through our everyday lives. Life and the way we live is so important to God because it is our worshipful response to Him. Learning about God leads to loving Him more, which then leads to living wholly and holy for Him.

This week, Adventure Camp is learning about our worshipful response to God. I can see God working and doing new things in the lives of our campers. Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and friends, pray that God continually moves in our lives and that our eyes and hearts are solely focused on God because He alone deserves all worship.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.” (Romans 12:1)

New Things in a New Stage of Life

Posted on Jul 26, 2017

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19)

And finally, we have arrived at Adventure Camp! Summer has been wonderfully great. Seeing God move through Explorer Camp and Discovery Camp excites me for the new things that He will do in Adventure Camp. Our campers are older compared to the last two sessions, so the dynamics have changed a bit, but that God will move has not.

These campers are in a new stage in their lives. They are beginning the “teen years” where life and how we understand things begins to change dramatically. They are beginning to try and grasp life into their own hands. They are beginning to make their own decisions. They are hoping to shape their own future. But the reality is that God holds their future in His hands. It is a future filled with wonder, joy, and peace. So far, we have been learning how God is going to do new things in our lives, not only in this new session of camp, but in this new phase of life. God is going to do new things in each and every one of our Adventure campers. I am expectant of the new and wondrous things He is going to do.

We have also learned that, in each of these new things, we have to trust God. In evening Christian Formation, we learned of the different names of God. These names are specifically linked to an action that He has done in the Bible. For example, Jehovah-Raah: “The Lord my shepherd.” God is like our good shepherd who leads us through life; through the good and the bad (Psalm 23). Jehovah-Nissi: “The Lord my canopy/banner” means that God is our protector (Exodus 17:15). In learning all these different names, we came to know that God is for us and with us every step of the way. We have come to trust God in His goodness and promises. But that is only the beginning of our journey here at Camp. God is about to do so much more.  Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, and whoever is reading this, pray that God may move in the lives of these Adventure campers and they wholeheartedly trust Him every step of the way.

 

God as Creator – Discovery Week 2

Posted on Jul 20, 2017

Without a doubt, God is doing new things here at camp. For the past week, we have been learning of God’s goodness and how we are to respond to

 

that. God created and formed every detail of the world around us to interstellar space beyond. Though Creation was finished in seven days, God is still continuing to create and do new things in our lives each and every day. God is the potter who is continually shaping us as well! He’s kindly shaping and refining us to reflect the image of His Son, Jesus. So what is our response? It’s quite an easy answer actually. Worship.

God is like a mother and father who sweetly snuggles up with their newborn child. Our response as people is to then worship Him. But not just through songs, but through any creative fashion. He created us in His image, so we also have is creative ability as well. When we read through the Psalms, song and music seem to pour out from a man’s soul. But God also gave Bezalel and Oholiab (Exod. 31) the ability to craft His Tabernacle with art and skill. We therefore also worshiped God through art. In our cabins, we each colored a poster with as much creativity as possible, and each poster ended up splendid. But as we pieced them together, a colorful collage of Jesus came about. In our awe, we learned that we can worship God through art (specifically coloring!).

 

Discovery Camp has been absolutely wonderful. As we come nearer to the end, I turn around to see the wonderful things God has done in the lives of each of our campers. We have gained new understandings and insights about God as well as learning to live a new life for Him. God will continually to do new things in our lives hereafter camp and I am excited to see what they are specifically for each camper. God is moving in our Discovery campers so I pray that they continue to in His path so they might know His love and sweetness. Parents, we return your children to you with excitement of all the new things our God will continue to do. May the Lord’s blessings be on you and your children.

Still Doing New Things

Posted on Jul 11, 2017

Last week, Explorer Camp of 2017 came to an end. It was quite saddening to see all of our campers go, but we sent them off in joy because God did a new thing in their lives. Without a doubt, campers had tons of fun with their activities. The constant shouts of joy during activities and the Bishop’s Cup (Camp DeWolfe’s “Team Blue vs. Gold” competition) are still ringing in my ears; kids unnaturally scream loud. I heard stories of how campers tried new things and excelled in many of them. Some kayaked for the first time just as others canoed, played music, tried archery, and a plethora of other activities; some even learned how to swim and ride a bike! Campers had a blast, but so did the staff. To lead and care for these campers was both an honor and fun.

But through the activities, the goal was for our Explorer campers to ultimately experience God in nature and how He might do new things in their lives. Like earlier stated, all of us counselors and staff can agree that God did do something new in the lives of our campers. For some, that new thing was a seed of God’s love being planted in their lives. For others, that new thing was a taking another step into discipleship. We told campers how God was going to move and do new things in their lives at camp, but we also emphasized how He would continue to do new things even after they had left. I believe that God is continually reshaping their hearts and will continue to do so in His love and grace.

Parents, relatives, and friends, God has done so many new things in the lives of your children and He still is. Be open to how He is continually shaping them and how He is continually shaping you as well. We as counselors were sad to see them go, but excited at the new things God did and will do. Now, Discovery Camp just started. We have two weeks with these campers and two weeks for God to wonderfully begin His new works in their life at camp and afterwards. Pray that He work through us to also be godly examples and that campers are open to His new works and shaping. God bless.

“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

Peter Vang
Christian Formation Director
Camp DeWolfe

Explorer Camp 2017 –

Posted on Jul 6, 2017

My oh my! How wonderful this week will be! This past Sunday was the start of our 2017 Summer Explorer Camp and I think all of the staff and campers can agree it started off on a high note! The staff have been tirelessly training, preparing, and praying for our incoming campers and we are just so glad that they are here now. The smiles and laughter of the campers keep us going. So far, we have heard of the many new things the campers have been trying (e.g. bike riding, swimming, sailing, archery, arts and crafts, etc.) and there is not one camper who is not happy (though some are still a tad bit homesick at times).

To see our Explorers try new things goes hand-in-hand with our theme for this summer: “All Things New” (Isaiah 43:19). In our Christian Formation times, we have been learning about how God is going to do new things in all of our lives during camp. More than just the activities, God is going to do new things in our hearts and we are all open to what and how He is going to do that. Today, our Explorers will see how God is ever present throughout Creation and how we as His creation and children are a part of that. God finished Creation in Genesis 1, but He continues to create and do new things in nature as well! Why not the same in all of our lives? God is going to do new things in our lives this week so moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, friends, and whoever else simply reading this, pray that we are open and ready for Him!

Peter Vang
Christian Formation Director
Camp DeWolfe

Thoughts on Staff Training

Posted on Jun 29, 2017

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.” (Psalm 62:5)

I don’t know how other past counselors have felt (and I am sure they agree), but staff training has been terribly tiring. While the 2017 summer staff has been trained on camp safety and policies, learned new games to play and lead, taken extremely heavy water equipment down the long beach trail, taken part in Christian Formation, and a plethora of other tasks, all last week, the staff were split into two groups and either trained in the Adventure Course or lifeguarding; this week includes more intense training as well. Everyone just seems to be pooped and sore (or as our UK staff says, “A little achey.”).

It is not that our camp coordinators simply do not like us and wish to give us more than we can handle, but that there is a great responsibility on the staff once camp begins. This responsibility is to keep the campers safe every second of the day, build life skills in the campers, and simply allow them to have fun. More than anything else, this responsibility also includes each staff member ministering to every incoming camper so they might know and love the Lord more. This sounds pretty tough. This sounds like a lot of responsibility. It seems to be more than we as counselors can handle. I think to myself, “Can we be trusted with all this responsibility?” Yes, we can. A wise mentor once told me, “If I did not trust you, I would not train you. I already trust you so I will train you. And once you are trained, I can trust you even more.”

The camp staff has much responsibility on their shoulders, but knowing that our directors and coordinators want to train us (and have to regardless) gives us all the more encouragement to work harder in our training and with our incoming campers. The trust and constant encouragement of our directors and coordinators through every step of training has refreshed us (though a nice day off will be helpful too!). Most of all, the Lord has been strengthening and pulling us through; we could never be thankful enough. Basically, the Camp DeWolfe staff is ready and absolutely excited for our incoming campers. Even though we are a little “achey,” we are not groaning because we are tired. We are groaning for camp to hurry and start! As one of our UK staff said, “It’s gonna be the bee’s knees!”

Peter Vang
Christian Formation Director
Camp DeWolfe Summer 2017

P.S. – Having many staff of different backgrounds (our UK and Polish staff specifically) is a blessing because it gives a wide range of diversity as well as fun. I am sure our campers will be in awe of their accents!