Camp DeWolfe Blog
Winter was moving along nicely – or so I thought: The days getting longer and the weather remained relatively mild. Thoughts of spring and of planning my garden and flower beds occupied more of my thoughts. Then, it snowed, and it wasn’t such a bad thing. The storm reminded that our plans aren’t necessarily God’s.
In a brief pause between shovels of snow, I was able to observe God’s handiwork around me. The contour of large evergreens, shrubs, and leftover stalks of spent summer plants forgotten in the rush of transition from fall to winter were transforming and becoming soft.
I watched a lone bird, a starling, sitting on my bird feeder sheltered from the blowing snow. That bird fought hard to remain in that same spot on the ledge of the feeder, alternating between a bite of seed, a bite of suet, and taking a nap.
Other birds came and squawked at him. They tried to get him to move out of the way to get a bite of the suet, but none was very successful and they just moved over to the other side of the feeder and settled for some seed. One large male red bellied woodpecker had had enough. He resolved to dislodge that small starling from its perch, first yelling at the starling, then inching closer trying to make the starling move. But that big woodpecker just couldn’t get that little starling to budge no matter how hard he tried. That stoic little starling with its fluffed, speckled feathers was sheltered from the storm and trusted he would remain safe.
At one time, in one place, during the height of the heavy snow and blowing wind, several birds of different species – chickadees, wrens, cardinals, blue jays, mourning doves, and juncos – all shared the space at the feeder. In the chaos of that storm, God provided a place of shelter, food, drink, and calm for all those birds – even if just for a moment.
Afterward, in the light of near evening, the snow had stopped. In the stillness, the boxwoods and laurels were bent over in half from the weight of the snow. They were bent, but not broken.
Although there were many lessons presented in those brief moments, I was soundly reminded that God works all things for His will, be it anyone in the midst of a personal crisis or the smallest of animals in the middle of a storm. We may bend by the weight of what’s upon us, we won’t break if we let go of our worries and just let God take over.
– Donna Barbaro, Office Administrator
Every year since 2015 I have been able to don a sleeping bag and step back into a cabin to be a Winter Camp counselor. Somehow, even after a year, I fall back into a familiar groove. Whether we’re marveling over Chef Alex’s latest gourmet meal, taking a hike on the nature trail, or enjoying the stillness and reflection of Christian Formation, the memories are priceless.
Stepping back into the role of a counselor, if only for a few days, always refocuses my view of what we’re doing at Camp DeWolfe, other camps, and in the Church: we’re showing people how much God loves them, cares for them, and wants them to feel accepted. In our quiet and in our laughter, our work and rest, our waking and our sleeping we are called to show God’s love. In my time as a Drama student in college, I was constantly reminded that as an artist I was supposed to show not tell. We can tell each other about God’s love all we want, and that doesn’t diminish that love at all. However, if those words are not met with actions, we’re really only living half of our calling. So, as a counselor, I see my role as showing that divine love, support, and acceptance as often as I can. Telling is good; showing is better and the young people really do notice it.
– Anthony Suggs, Program Coordinator
Isaiah 43: 19a – “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”
The past month has been a busy one for Camp DeWolfe. On January 20-22, over 30 campers came to Camp DeWolfe for our 4th annual Winter Camp! We had a ton of fun, experienced some great fellowship, and enjoyed playing games, challenging ourselves, and worshiping God through song, prayer and the Eucharist! We learned from Isaiah 43, from the beauty and power of God’s creation, and from the Disney movie Cars that God can do new things in our lives. Campers went home hearing that God can move in their ever-day lives, and that God’s movement asks for our response as Christ’s hands and feet in this world.
In addition to Winter Camp a couple of weeks ago, this past weekend was our adult retreat, Listening to God. This retreat, too, used Isaiah 43 to listen for what new things God wanted to do in our lives. Using the structure of Isaiah 43: 16-21 as a guide, participants got to spend time reflecting on what God has done already, meeting God in the present moment, and submitting our future desires to God’s gracious design. Participants went home with a few more tools in their toolkit for living an intentional, considered, and considerate life led by the Holy Spirit.
Father John McGinty shared the Eucharist with both groups and he reminded us that God did not create just once, but is eternally creating. That means every moment there God is doing something new. The challenge is the second part of that sentence, “Do you not perceive it?” It’s a busy time of year with Super Bowl parties, school activities, preparing for Lent, and more. Please, in your busyness, do not forget to take the time in prayer, worship, and fellowship to look for what newness God is bringing into your life. You will be glad you did.
3 School Attending?
4 Position on Staff?
5. Most Excited about for this Summer?
I’m most excited to see how the youth and counselors can come together and bond as a community of Christian faith.
6. Favorite Camp Core Value and Why?
Empowering Leaders: because everyone has a chance to become one. People just need the right environment, opportunities & a little nudge in the right direction, which is exactly what CDW provides for youths.
7. Favorite Camp Activity and Why?
Roasting Marshmallows by the campfire and making s’mores. This activity is all-inclusive and allows people to bond over sweet & tasty treats and make great memories.
8. Favorite Parable?
Parable of the Good Samaritan
9. Best way to spend a Sunday afternoon?
Catching up on TV shows I missed during the week.
- 1. Name?
- 2. From?
- 3. School attending?
Leeds Beckett University
- 4. Position on staff?
- 5. Most excited about for this summer?
To be back in my favourite place, to make new friends and to see old friends!
- 6. Favourite camp core value and why?
Purposeful community, because it gives everybody the chance to spend time with people that they might not usually!
- 7. Favourite camp activity and why?
Definitely the challenge course! I loved seeing campers challenge themselves and work as a team, achieving things that they didn’t think they could do.
- 8. Favourite parable?
The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) because it reminds us to always love and help one another, no matter what preconceptions we might have.
- 9. Best way to spend a Sunday afternoon?
Relaxing with family and a roast dinner!
This summer has been a great opportunity as I have got to travel the world to a new country to have new experiences. I feel that God had sent me here for a reason, that reason was to make me into a better person then I was before. Looking back now I feel that I have changed so much that I have done what God wanted me to do. I have made loads of great lifetime friends while I have been here. They have got me through thick and thin. I have enjoyed seeing the smiles on the campers faces and it was sad to see them go after the weeks of fun. I do feel like a better person and I feel closer to God after summer 2016.
Copiague, New York
- School attending?
Just finished Copiague High School
- Position on staff?
- Most excited about For this summer?
I am most excited to see all of the returning campers and meet new ones.
- Favorite Camp core Value and Why?
My favorite Camp core value is developing leaders because as a past LIT I’ve noticed a change in myself through the leadership training at Camp. I’ve noticed things like being more confident to speak up, getting involved in more activities, and overall self-growth.
- Favorite Camp activity and Why?
My favorite camp activity is Rocketry, the expressions on the camper’s faces when they get to hit the launch button and see the rocket that they built soars into the air is priceless. To be able to take a few pieces and put them together to make something that flys is amazing. Reminds us, anything is possible.
- Favorite parable?
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.
- Best way to spend a Sunday afternoon?
For me, the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon is to have dinner with my family and watch a movie together relaxing before getting ready to begin another week.
Before I came to camp, I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know what it would be like, or if I would enjoy it, but I can easily say that I have had the best summer ever!
I have developed strong friendships with people that I might never have spoken to if it wasn’t for camp, and I hope that we will remain friends for life.
Whilst being a counselor has its challenges, it is definitely worth it to see the campers grow each and every day, whether it is in their faith, trust or leadership. Seeing a camper go from not wanting to participate in Christian Formation on the first day, to visibly enjoying it by the end of the week was just one of the moments that made me proud to be a counselor at Camp DeWolfe.
The beautiful scenery that surrounds camp is a sight that I will never forget – especially watching the sunset over the Sound. I have loved spending the summer here, and I will always cherish the experience.
Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder, one for each of the tribes of the Israelites, so that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off in front of the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the Israelites a memorial forever.” – Joshua 4: 5-7
The fall has always been a time of gathering and like farmers gathering the harvest we have been blessed to be gathering the fruit of the past 69 years of ministry at Camp DeWolfe. The gathering fruit comes to us in the form of stories and pictures, thoughts and sentiments. As we have toured parishes, enjoying God’s gift of the Eucharist with God’s people in the Diocese of Long Island, we have heard the wonderful stories about how God has been building community and shaping Christians here at Camp DeWolfe over the better part of a century. There are past staff members whose lives changed direction because they spent a summer at camp. There are campers who only were able to be here for a single summer, but upon whom the closing campfire or a particular counselor has made an eternal impression.
As we gather this bountiful harvest I am reminded of the passage quoted from Joshua chapter 4. This was it. Moses, the last of his generation, had died and the Hebrew people had finished wandering the wilderness. Joshua had led the people to a raging river Jordan, full of the seasonal rain waters, and just as God divided the Red Sea to take the Hebrew out of the land of oppression, Egypt, God once again divides the water to take the people into the Promised Land. Joshua did not want the Israelites to forget this most recent miracle, so he sent 12 of them, one for each tribe, back into the water to gather stones. The stones would be stacked to “be to the Israelites a memorial forever.”
We, the staff of Camp DeWolfe, have been gathering stones. As we put them together and form our memorial media it will obviously look different. We are building it with the technology of the 21st Century rather than the technology of the 14th Century before Christ. However, the point of the exercise remains the same. We want to tell the world the story of what God has done in this place, so that all who care to can hear that story and praise the Lord.
*If you would like to share your story or your pictures, please send it to email@example.com or share it with us on Facebook.
Being a camp counselor at a sleep away camp for the first time has of course had its ups and downs. Being an LIT counselor has been very rewarding to me: from having nervous and uncertain kids in the first week to young people who are more confident, being encouraging to others, and starting to bloom into young leaders. The things that I’ve learned from them I will take with me as I advance into my career in youth development. If I am able, I would like to come back and serve as an LIT counselor again.