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Camp DeWolfe Blog

Reflections from a camp counselor

Posted on Jun 19, 2015

I know it’s hard to believe, but summer has begun and is in full swing! Even though some may complain about the swarm of flies, the extreme heat or the sudden increase in holiday fares, summer is without a doubt the best time of year!

I view summer as a time of adventure and catching up with all of my nearest and dearest. Additionally, I believe that summer is the ultimate reward for surviving the often difficult Autumn and Winter months. Traditionally, the lead up towards the summer months are extremely hectic, with the many crucial end of year assignments taking place, in addition to the conclusion of many sports competitions (even though my beloved Boston Celtics are not usually involved in the playoff picture by the time summer comes around!).

Personally, the previous couple of months have been frantic, to say the least, as a result of moving house, applying for my masters degree and the laborious tasks that being a trainee teacher entails. Couple this with the preparations of returning to camp as an overseas counselor and budgeting and planning finances as a student,  it would be no exaggeration to say that these last few months have been some of the most challenging of my life!

In the Bible, God makes numerous promises (over 3000) and although He does not promise a trouble free life, He does promise that those who persevere through the inevitable times of suffering will be rewarded (2 Thessalonians 1:5-10). This is linked to my personal favourite section of the Bible in Daniel 3:1-30, whereby three men against all odds succeed in a time of great adversity, due to their unwavering faith in God. Whilst my faith may not be as strong the three men in Daniel 3:1-31, I believe that the amount of faith that I did have, as well as the endless support I received from those around me, were integral in me being able to overcome the many challenges that I faced in the not too distant past.

They say “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”; therefore I eagerly await the day, whereby I return to camp and enjoy my reward as a new day dawns…

By René Gardner-Leonce

Returning Summer Camp Counselor and Adventure Challenge Instructor

Meet the Summer Staff – Part 25

Posted on Jun 15, 2015

What’s your name? – Nicholas Augustine

What’s your age? – 19 years old

Where are you from? – Oyster Bay, NY

What university do you attend? – Hunter College, NY – Majoring in International Relations/Journalism

What’s your favorite state? New York

What’s your favorite camp activity and why? – Anything in the water! Swimming is so much fun and I love the smell of the beach!

What are you most looking forward to about next summer and why? – I’m so excited to meet all the campers, and help them have a great, memorable summer!

What’s your favorite camp core value? – Natural Setting – I think being at the camp is so relaxing, and it’s so wonderfully different from NYC!

What’s your dream job? – International Consultant

Nick Augustine

Nick Augustine


Meet the Summer Staff – Part 24

Posted on Jun 14, 2015

1. What’s your name?
Zachary Lande

2.What’s your age?

3.Where are you from?
Freeport NY

4.What university/school do you attend? What major?
Adelphi University / Sports marketing/Management

5.What’s your favorite Country/state?
Mexico – As I Love the climate , the food , the people And ALL the outdoor activities that one can do / Vermont , I love to snowboard and Love the winter sports that people can do there . Besides Vermont has some of the most beautiful mountain camp grounds

6.What’s your favorite camp activity and why?
I love all the camp activities that take place outdoors !! In the woods/ fields or in/ on the water ! There is so much to do outdoors from hiking,, running, swimming, canoeing and SO many different games that can be played . I really DO enjoy all the activities that take place outdoors .

7.What are you most looking forward to about next summer and why?
I look forward to working back at Camp DeWolfe ,because I know I’m going to have an awesome time. I also look forward to going on vacations with my family as I enjoy exploring different parts of the world and making new discoveries.

8.What’s your favorite camp core value (community, Christian Formation, Developing Leaders or Natural Setting) and Why?
Being that I myself have attended 2 retreats at Camp DeWolfe through my church , one of my favorite reasons among many is the BEAUTIFUL Natural setting !! Its truly a place where one can revel in Gods creations and become one and be in awe with Nature . People can discover talents or things about yourself that you didn’t know, and at times push yourself to the limits . It enables you to really look inside yourself in a peaceful setting , its a place where I feel truly free and it makes me feel alive ….

9.What’s your dream job/vocation/calling for life?
My dream job would be being a toy designer ! I would LOVE to spend my days thinking up and designing new toys for kids to play with !! I think it would be a really cool job to have ,plus I get to play with them too !! I feel my calling in life is to make as many people laugh , have fun and be happy !! Life is powerful and we should all enjoy being here !


Meet the Summer Staff – Part 23

Posted on Jun 10, 2015

1. What’s your name?
My name is Miriam Ekeson

2. What’s your age?
I am nineteen years old.

3. Where are you from?
I am from Queens, New York

4. What university/school do you attend? What major?
I currently attend University at Albany, in New York. I am majoring in psychology.

5. What’s your favorite Country/state?
My favorite state is my own of course, New York! I love the liveliness and all the different places there are to go. In New York, there is always something to do. I also love that there are quiet places when silence is needed. New York is all around an amazing place to be.

6. What’s your favorite camp activity and why?
I love all camp activities, but my favorites would have to be challenge course and swimming. Swimming is something I’ve always loved to do since I was young. I love the water, and it is a great way to have fun and stay cool in the summer! Challenge course is another favorite of mine because of the adrenalin. Not many people get to experience the fun and exciting course in their lives. It kind of makes me feel accomplished when I do something I’m terrified of.

7. What are you most looking forward to about next summer and why?
This summer I am looking forward to being a camp counselor at Camp DeWolfe because this is a camp I attended a few years ago. I loved it and I could not wait to come back and be on the other side this time, helping the campers. I love children and it is in my best interest to help them have a fun-filled summer!

8. What’s your favorite camp core value (Community, Christian Formation, Developing Leaders or Natural Setting) and Why?
My favorite camp core value is community. This is because with community we can learn so much from each other about Christian Formation, becoming leaders, and learn about natural settings at the same time. Our bond as a camp family can last a lifetime and we meet people we will never forget.

9. What’s your dream job/vocation/calling for life?
In the future I am looking forward to becoming a clinical psychologist that specializes in children! I always love to help anyone that is in need, especially children.



Meet the Summer Staff – Part 22

Posted on Jun 9, 2015

1 What’s your name?
My Name is Nicholas Lande!

2. What’s your age?
I am currently 18 years of age, my birthday is June 30th!

3. Where are you from?
I live in Freeport, LI

4. What university/school do you attend? What major?
I am currently a biology major at St. John’s University with the Catholic Scholars program.

5. What’s your favorite Country/state?
My favorite Country is Italy! I’m 100% Italian, so that is a given! My favorite state would have to be Florida, it being my favorite vacation spot.

6. What’s your favorite camp activity and why?
Any Activity that involves water and adventure! This includes swimming, kayaking, canoeing and archery. I love feeling the unique rush, of things that you can’t do everyday unlike baseball other versatile sports.

7. What are you most looking forward to about next summer and why?
This position is perfect for me, so I would consider working next year at Camp DeWolfe. Next year I am going to apply for a Service Plunge Pilgrimage with at my university at St. John’s. This experience is in the beginning of June in Lourdes, France! It is a once in a lifetime experience meeting people of all ethnicities. Imagine hearing the rosary in about 4 different languages! This will be spiritually growing for me since I have to live a life of simplicity during the time that I’m there. I’m so excited!

8. What’s your favorite camp core value (community, Christian Formation, Developing Leaders or Natural Setting) and Why?
My favorite camp core value is Christian Formation. How so? As Catholics, we are called to gather as one, being that we all are composed of the Body of Christ as mentioned by St. Paul. He encourages us to assemble, worship and praise what God has given us every day. We welcome all from different backgrounds, religions and races. Furthermore, I love the singing together because as St. Augustine once said “Singing is praying twice”. Personally, my life is deeply rooted in my faith; likewise, I try to incorporate Christ in my life by demonstrating what he has done for us, taught us, and to the best of my ability, give the greatest amount of love that he has for us.

9. What’s your dream job/vocation/calling for life?
I feel I am being called to serve God’s children as a pediatrician. Since I have a witty, courteous yet enthusiastic personality, it seems like a perfect fit now! In conjunction with that, it serves that I would like to have a family of my own to share by being a loving husband as well as a dedicated father for my future children.

Nick Lande

Nick Lande

University adventures – thoughts from a graduate

Posted on Jun 7, 2015

When I went to university, I thought to myself that I only had 4 years at university, therefore I was going to at least try a few things that were out of my comfort zone, just to be adventurous! So my first year I joined the volleyball society, because I wanted to learn to play volleyball, as it looked so much fun and it was fun! Though I think a lot of people had the same idea as me so there was a massive turnout. This meant I got to meet a lot more new people, but not much volleyball got done! But I do now have an idea of how it’s done at least!

My second year of university I picked it up a notch, I decided I would go to a lot of taster events, which would allow me to pick what I would then be doing that year. I went to rowing, rock climbing, belly dancing and dance. I ended up doing rock climbing and dance which I absolutely enjoyed. I also applied for Camp America which allowed me the opportunity to become part of the Camp DeWolfe family of which is a blessing. Looking back now, I think that was my best year for trying new things.

This year I joined the investment society, which was good, but I think the best new thing I did this year I actually chose last year. As I was studying Business Management and Accounting and Finance, at the end of second year, I was asked to choose between two modules of which were marketing and economic development. I thought I knew what marketing involved, because I had done it at sixth form college, so I wanted to do something that was different, which is why I chose economic development.

Economic development was my favorite module this year, I got to learn a lot about developing economies its effects on the world in regards to trade, happiness and generally people’s well-being across different nations. It wasn’t what I expected the module to be about, because in my first year we did a module on economics, so I thought it was going to be about supply and demand. But it wasn’t what I expected at all. I think I liked what it stands for and what I think it wants to achieve which is the improvement of people’s lives in every aspect of their lives and not just economically.

I learned a lot at university and not just in my seminars and lectures, but also in the extracurricular activities of which I took very seriously. I learned about myself, that I am a person who enjoys new experiences in general because before university, I only restricted myself to trying new food. I would make it a point to eat something I had never had before when I went into a restaurant so that was as adventurous as I got but now, I see there is more ground to explore!

I also faced some challenges in this past year of which have reminded me how short life is and how our time together on this earth is not something that we have in spades. It has shown me to cherish the time that I have with the people in my life and to enjoy each moment with each other. I have also learned that there is joy in the arguments and disagreements and the bad times, because even then, we are given opportunities. I have found in my life that in some of those bad times, you look back, and remember those times with joy and laughter and not because the issues going on in those bad times are funny but because, it all seems so trivial in the balance of things.

I thank God for giving me the opportunity to go to university, as I realize that for some, it only a wish. I thank God for wonderful people I got to meet and the friends I got to make and the experiences I got to have and just for being present every step of the way even when I myself wasn’t paying attention. I think that God has a way of making things happen and as I step into the next chapter of my life, I know that I am not alone and that God is always there and he has put people in my life who will stand and experience this adventure we call life with me and for that I will be eternally grateful.

By Karen Ncube

Returning Camp Counselor 2015

Karen and her baking class

Karen and her baking class

7 Lessons from Summer Camp

Posted on Jun 5, 2015

It’s been over twenty years since I last assumed the pseudonym of “Frostbite” for three months in the piney woods of East Texas. From 1991 through 1993, I summered at Pine Cove Ranch, a Christian camp for (at the time) 6th-through-12th graders near Tyler. Every week, a new batch of campers would arrive, and along with my colleagues Bushwacker, Backfire, Opee, Edelweiss, Fezzik and the rest, we’d herd them in for six days of water sports, horses, biking, Bible study, sermons, and silliness.

The experiences of those three collegiate summers left me with a plethora of lessons that stand the test of time. Some of those lessons were, how shall I put it, more… socially educational? Nevertheless, I was able to distill the wealth of spiritually-beneficial wisdom into the following seven categories:

1. God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called (2 Timothy 3:17).

This phrase was standard fare from the mouth of our camp director. The truth in the statement extends back to Moses, Abraham, Joseph, David… just about everyone used by God for big things who, on physical examination, didn’t have the degrees, stature, or qualification for the jobs that needed to be done. You’ve never spoken in public, acted in a skit, or led a Bible study? You may be right where the Lord wants you, so get ready for Him to bestow His qualification upon you.

It also works in reverse – you think you’re qualified for one thing, God has a different purpose. As a youth ministry major who loved water sports, I assumed surely His place for me was with the 12th-grade guys and the waterfront. So why was I assigned to 6th graders, tennis, and archery? Somebody messed up! Turns out it was me for getting insulted. I was in precisely the place where I could be of most use to the kingdom, and sixth graders were much better at buying into my off-the-wall behavior than the too-cool seniors.

Other counselor friends of mine came away remembering other mottos that continue to inform their lives. One friend tells me that to this day she subscribes to the disciplinary treatise, “A river without boundaries is a swamp,” which our camp director was fond of reminding us. I’d wager each counselor came away with their own set of (at least) seven lessons. But onward with mine…

2. If you want to learn something, teach it (Exodus 18:20).

Teaching what you don’t know very well can potentially have great rewards: even before I’d ever executed my own successful roll in a kayak, when a camper I was assisting with the principles of the move popped back out of the water successfully, both of us beamed with bright confidence the rest of the day. Seeing how she managed it gave me the lesson I needed to accomplish the feat myself. (I need to remember this the next time I involve my son in a home fix-it project neither of us has tackled before…)

3. The kid with the toughest exterior on Sunday is the one who’ll be hugging you the hardest come Saturday (Matthew 19:14; Romans 12:9-10).

“Get with your kids.” That’s what you’d hear from a director if it was free time and you were caught chatting with your peers. “Love on those kids; don’t indoctrinate them.” That was the answer if a counselor had an issue with a controversial subject. “Put your arms around these kids, put their arms around the Word.” That was the goal. All of the above boiled down to time. Youth of any age watch how you spend your time. They learn quickly how important they are to you. They all have their issues but they all know when they’re being loved and they all respond to it… in time. So give them that. (Incidentally, this lesson has had huge implications upon my role as “Daddy”).

4. Life and Christianity are so much more than Do’s and Don’ts (Galatians 5:13).

I had come out of a fantastic youth group a few years earlier, but even I was bored with the tired, standard youth sermon that had also plagued the young people I counseled at camp: “Don’t drink, don’t do drugs, etc.” Undoubtedly good advice, but why not? There were already plenty of them who weren’t practicing these “greater sins.” What, instead, could we show them about, say, rebellion, disobedience, covetousness, envy, and poor self-image? It seemed to me that when I did encounter those who were involved with alcohol, or drugs,  they were using the temporary gratification of those activities to fill holes caused by, well, rebellion, disobedience, covetousness, envy, and poor self-image.

Living out your faith without inhibitions in front of young people is about as bold, yet genuine, as you can be. Modeling the truth of the Word eliminates the need for do’s and don’ts, removes the need to ask, “Why live this way?” It’s obvious when your joy requires no illegal substances, and when your love is unattached from lust.

5. It’s good to be alive (Romans 8:6; John 10:10)

I made a mere $1,000 for an entire 11 weeks of hard work, got only 24 hours off each week, lived round the clock in sweltering heat, with a dozen boys, had hundreds of responsibilities, lost track of movies and the baseball standings, went three months without a soda… and I never felt better, was never more fulfilled. Life isn’t about building to a place where we can do what we want all the time – that goal ends in becoming our own little gods. Life happens outdoors, with other people, by God’s strength, in God’s presence, for God’s purposes. It’s a gift, even when difficult.

6. We ARE the body (1 Corinthians 7:17; 1 Corinthians 12:12).

It wasn’t difficult to understand the frustrations that our non-counseling staff often had about whether or not they were being used by God. After all, you interview to work at a youth camp because you have a heart for youth, only to find out you’re a cook, a nurse, a work crew director. These are the thankless jobs, out of the limelight. Away from the kids and the fun. But none of the great things that happened at Pine Cove would have been possible without every part of the body working together for the greater mission.

The body also has its imperfections, and there was no better illustration than Jiggs Gaffney, a mentally-handicapped man from Tyler who spent the whole summer with us, not as a camper, not as paid staff, but just as himself. Jiggs loved Pine Cove, loved playing basketball and Commando, loved everyone. The place would not have been the same without him. He helped us all not to fear disability. It truly takes all kinds.

7. There’s biblical application everywhere (Romans 1:20).

Mealtime brought opportunities for selflessness and politeness. The high ropes course illustrated trust and security. Activity classes bred the confidence of success for God’s glory. The whole system was based on service, sharing, and community. But my favorite application was this one, which I penned for my girlfriend (now my wife) as she was moving away from me for graduate school:

I used to teach archery at camp in Texas. It’s the kind of sport where it’s not hard to find a few life metaphors: hitting the target, nailing the bull’s-eye, missing the mark… But in the arrow itself, I found a wealth of lessons. It’s such a simple, effective, and elegant weapon with its sleek shaft and colorful feathers, but it can’t function without help. It needs the bow in order to reach its potential, to drive it forward, or it is worthless.

The arrow also has been prevalent in my doodles for as long as I can remember, probably due to its symbolic significance in direction and guidance. But take a close look at the feathers – do you notice how one, the one facing outward, is a different color? That’s called the cock feather. It’s unique in that it must face away from the bow, or outward, in order to fly straight when shot.

As Christians, too often we cover up what’s different about ourselves, and we wind up missing the mark, or sinning. When our unique side faces outward for the world to see on the other hand, we fly straight and true, exploding towards the target in a glorious burst of color.

What is unique and different about you, Valerie? Your faith, poise, depth, and grace to name a few. Keep those true colors facing boldly outward; trust the Lord’s aim as He pulls back the string; fly straight. Choose the right targets, and you can’t miss.

Written By Shawn McEvoy, who served at Pine Cove Camp for 3 years and now serves at Crosswalk

Following God’s plans overseas

Posted on May 28, 2015

I have never felt so inspired and overjoyed when I think of the word ‘traveling’…. My heart skips a beat and it sounds cheesy, but I know that is exactly what I am suppose to be doing with my life now. I’ve never felt so strong about something…

This year is a year of finding who I truly am! Last year, I had a glimpse of what it was like to fully be who I was and I loved being this person. I went  to a Christian Summer Camp called Camp DeWolfe and experiencing life in an unfamiliar place. I grew to love all the ups and downs that came along with the camp journey. I loved learning new things and being myself without trying to impress others.

Ever since I returned to New Zealand after camp and my travels, I felt like a new confident person! A person who knew what she wanted and was on fire for God, wanting to do whatever His plan was.Since I’ve been back home I’ve been working with a goal in mind. It really does help those long days.

This year I have the opportunity for my goal to happen, to go back to Camp DeWolfe and grow more as a person and help others grow also. Not only am I going back to camp and seeing many familiar faces, but meeting new faces and sharing new experiences, such as teaching drama and paddle boarding, which I’ve dreamed of doing but never thought would happen.

I’m also moving to the UK straight after camp. This is a time for me to reflect and discover more about myself while being in the unknown! ‘I was born very far from where I’m suppose to be, so I guess I’m on my way home’ – This quote resounds with me, because I am born for a bigger purpose, I am here to be used. I am incredibly thankful for the places I have been and the people I have met along my journey so far. I think back a couple of years ago and would have never thought I’d be actually living out my dream to travel. I was so comfortable at where I was, but for me, comfort was not enough..I wanted more.. I wanted to live a different and exciting life…

Some people say that you are either born to be a missionary in your home country or born to be a missionary over seas.. I feel I was born to make an impact where God leads me to the the unknown countries than my own.

‘For I know the plans I have for you declares The Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.‘ (Jeremiah 29:11)

I am on an adventure, ready to experience my identity in Christ!

-By Beki Joyce
(Returning Camp Counselor/Drama and Paddle-boarding Instructor)

Beki Joyce

Beki Joyce

All are welcome

Posted on May 21, 2015

Last Sunday, Camp DeWolfe hosted it’s Annual Camp Open Day! God provided sunshine and warm weather, as families and friends from Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk headed out east for an afternoon of outdoor fun. Over 100 guests to the camp ministry – many new and prospective parents and youth took tours facilitated by Board members and volunteers, tried their hand at archery and Ga-Ga, made a cross-craft to take home to a friend, and hiked down the 140 steps too enjoy the beach on the Long Island Sound! There were parent presentations, vision talks, question and answer time with staff, and lots of outdoor fun on the basketball court and sports field. A Camp BBQ and camp fire was the highlight of the program with some guests even trying a s’more for the first time!

Amongst the fun and fellowship was a beautiful reality of families – new and returning, alumni – from the 1960s through to present day, neighbors from the local community and further afield, volunteers and staff – both past and present, and clergy and lay leaders from across the entire Diocese of Long Island – all coming together as the body of Christ to enjoy God’s natural setting on the Long Island Sound and to make a choice to say yes to a camp family where ALL ARE WELCOME. No matter what the culture, ethnicity, background, language, geography, economic or social status. All are welcome. All are God’s children. All are in God’s family. After the year we have experienced in the USA, this is a precious, hopeful and encouraging sight to experience and be a part of.

We are excited for all the campers who are registered for summer camp 2015 – at a place where all are welcome, all are loved, and all have the opportunity to experience God in creation and community! Summer 2015 will be a one of unity and love as “You are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27)

There are still a couple of spaces open for summer camp 2015 so click here to register today!



Men of God

Men of God

Camp friends

Camp friends

Click here for more Camp Open Day Photos