Camp DeWolfe Blog
When? January 23rd 6pm – January 25th 2015 1pm
Who? All campers ages 10 – 14.
What? Here is what you can expect: Many of your best friends from camp and counselors too, exciting outdoor games and lot’s of time to engage in community with a “Frozen” theme!
Where? Camp DeWolfe, 408 North Side Road, Wading River, NY 11792
Details? $125.00 per person all inclusive
Arrive? Plan to arrive between 5:00 and 6:00pm on Friday, January 23rd. Dinner will be served at camp at 6.30pm.
Depart? Winter Camp will end at 1:00pm on Sunday, January 25th.
What to Bring? Sleeping bags, your Bible, your journal, lots of warm clothes, and your toothbrush!
During the first week of December, some of the Camp DeWolfe team attended the Annual Christian Camp and Conference Association (CCCA) Annual Conference in Florida. Hundreds of Christian Camps from across the USA and Canada gathered to be together, in God’s word and with 4 days to worship God, learn and hear from God, and encourage each other in camp ministry. There were speakers, workshops, sessions, music times, prayer groups and meals in fellowship, all with the purpose to be inspired, re-energized and LIFTed up to God.
The entire conference was based on Isaiah 40:31 – “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” So many people serving in ministry have a big vision for making a difference in Christ’s kingdom, and get stuck in, but often get worn out and tired and can burn out. We are reminded that our dreams are actually God’s dreams and our burdens are actually God’s burdens, so we are to be the branch as Christ is the vine and remain in and abide in Christ, not in our own strengths and energy.
Bryan Loritts and Phil Vischer, in addition to other pastors and ministry leaders shared their stories and their hearts for serving Christ, urging each of us that the most important part being our relationship with Christ, before any ministry or meeting or task. When we are connected to the Lord, through the Holy Spirit, the fruits of the Spirit will flow through naturally, like how apples grow from apple trees. Impact doesn’t occur when we’re pursuing impact… It occurs when we’re pursuing God.
Therefore, our questions for today and every day, for each of us, not just those who work in ministry settings, are always to be: Am I Following God? Am I putting God first above all else, even above great things, great people and great ministries? Am I walking in God’s love today, knowing He loves me because He made me, not because of anything I do or am or be? Am I giving my burdens to Jesus and carrying His yoke, which is light? Can I take everything to the cross and lay it down and walk away with only God as my single goal? If the answers are yes, then we are ready to be used by Him.
On Saturday 22nd November 2014, over 130 people from across the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island attended the Camp DeWolfe Annual Benefit Dinner in Wading River. The evening was a celebration of the past, present and future ministry of Camp DeWolfe, and a celebration of the life and ministry of Father Edward Nils Blatz, who received the Camp DeWolfe Lifetime Achievement Award from Bishop Provenzano and the Camp DeWolfe Board of Managers. Additionally, during the evening, people gave over $21,000 in support of newly formed Endowment, Scholarship and Annual Fund for the future ministry of Camp DeWolfe.
During the dinner, Bishop Provenzano and Father John Madden thanked Father Nils Blatz for his service across the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island, since he began as a curate at Trinity Church Roslyn in 1965. Camp Director, Matthew Tees, presented the award which read, “ Lifetime Achievement Award Presented to Father Edward Nils Blatz. In grateful recognition of your many years of loving and dedicated service to the ministry of Camp DeWolfe”. Father Blatz shared personal stories from his 60+ years of time at Camp DeWolfe, including his fond memories as a camper! Father Blatz was made Rector of Trinity Roslyn in 1972 for 22 years until 1994. He then moved to Grace Church in Brooklyn Heights where he served as Rector for 10 years until 2003 and then in retirement, he served as Priest-in-charge of Church of the Redeemer in Mattituck for the past 11 years.
Additionally, Father Blatz was involved with Camp DeWolfe throughout his ministry:
-Camper from 1948 – 1954
-Work Crew Summer of 1955
-Weekend Work Crew Fall and Spring of 1956- 1967
-Chaplain 1970’s- with Fr Herb Thompson
-Member of the Camp Board of Managers as Treasurer and Acting Chair from 1990 -2012
Parishioners from Grace Church Brooklyn Heights, St. Gabriel’s Brooklyn, St Peter’s Church Rosedale, St Gabriel’s Church Hollis, Trinity Church Roslyn, Cathedral of the Incarnation, Christ Church Oyster Bay, and Church of the Redeemer Mattituck attended the Camp Benefit Dinner, in addition to family, staff, alumni and friends of Camp DeWolfe and Father Nils Blatz. After a wonderful buffet dinner provided by the camp food services team, Camp Board members Father Terence A. Lee and David Asher shared stories about the impact that Camp DeWolfe has on both young people through summer camp and winter camp ministries, and in its hospitality ministry to over 6700 guests annually who are outside the Episcopal Church. Gifts including a new sound system for the St Luke’s Chapel, new basketballs, new archery targets, Bibles, books and S’mores supplies were donated ready for summer camp 2015!
Year-end donations to Camp DeWolfe can be made at www.campdewolfe.org and plans have already begun for the 2015 Annual Benefit Dinner to be held at Camp DeWolfe in November 2015. For more information about camp ministry please call 631-929-4325 or check www.campdewolfe.org
1. What’s your name?
2. What’s your age?
3. Where are you from?
Inverness, Scotland, UK
4. What university/school do you attend? What major?
University of Edinburgh, music
5. What’s your favorite Country/state?
I love my home, Scotland — there’s nowhere else like it! But I also love to travel and experience new places, so I don’t know if I have a favourite…
6. What’s your favorite camp activity and why?
My favourite camp activity would have to be anything on the waterfront — always such amazing activities and games on such a stunning natural setting…such fun!
7. What are you most looking forward to about next summer and why?
I am most looking forward to seeing old friends, making new friends and spending time together experiencing and worshiping God!
8. What’s your favorite camp core value (community, Christian Formation, Developing Leaders or Natural Setting) and Why?
Community! – There’s lasting friendships made and mega enjoyment shared; Camp DeWolfe has such an amazing community on and off camp.
9. What’s your dream job/vocation/calling for life?
I think my dream job would be working as a music supervisor within the film industry but ultimately I just want to spread the joy that God gives me everyday!
Descending the path to the waterfront last June before summer camp had started was the beginning of a wonderful trip down memory lane. Fifty years ago I was the Program Director at Camp DeWolfe and I was delighted when the current Program Director, Emma Tees, offered to give me a tour of today’s camp.
Although much has changed in 50 years, a lot of things were still very familiar: the very long climb up and down “Heart Attack Hill” to the beach, St. Luke’s Chapel with its breath-taking view of the Sound, Benson House (before we knew it was a secret FBI counterintelligence site during World War II), the dining and recreation halls (both of which have been renovated and winterized) and many of the cabins and wash houses (although these too have been rebuilt or updated and winterized). Fifty years ago there was no ropes course or swimming pool, and the Camp was not used year-round, but otherwise it seemed very familiar.
My time at Camp began in 1960 as a member of what was then called the “Work Crew,” a group of 8-10 teenage boys whose primary duties were in the kitchen and the dining hall, peeling potatoes (and otherwise helping prepare and serve food), washing dishes, scrubbing pots and cleaning-up after meals. But as the “Work Crew,” we were also expected to carry equipment up and down the hill to the beach, move tent platforms and do any other work involving heavy lifting or team effort. The entire crew lived together in what is now Matt and Emma Tees’ residence. No other staff dared to visit this bunk house which had more the atmosphere (and aroma) of a locker room than a residence.
After two years on the Work Crew (during which I sweated off a lot of weight), I got “promoted” to the exalted position of Maintenance Director for one summer, repairing bed springs, patching screen windows and doors, unclogging toilets, cutting grass, keeping the soda machine filled with bottles of Coke and doing just about anything else that could be called “maintenance.” My most vivid memory from that summer was learning to drive what I remember to be a 1947, 1.5 ton Ford flatbed truck with something like 15 forward gears, 3 reverse gears, and no power steering.
During the following three summers I helped plan, organize, schedule and lead the full range of program activities, first as Program Assistant, then as Program Director. I remember in particular one notorious activity that happened at least once every summer. Michael Borsari, whose father maintained the grounds at the Cathedral in Garden City, also worked at the Camp. When we “discovered” (every summer) that Mike had “lost” his wooden toe (held in place with a leather strap), we mobilized the entire Camp to search for it. We may even have offered an ice cream reward to the cabin or tent that found it. Of course, some campers were skeptical about Mike’s having a wooden toe to begin with, so after dinner on the night before the great hunt, Mike would take off his shoes and socks in front of the entire camp, revealing that he was indeed missing the small toe on one foot (the result of having gotten too close to his father’s lawn mower at the Cathedral). As I recall, we did in fact have a carved wooden toe that someone found every year. Mike, of course, never actually wore it.
In those days, Benson House was where most of the non-Work Crew and non-counselor staff lived. It was also where staff hung out after hours. It was where I learned to play bridge with my hero, Fr. John and his wife Betty, who was also the Camp Nurse. The front porch (facing the Sound) was where staff were expected to read both Morning and Evening Prayer every day, unless we a good excuse. This was in addition to the Mass that all staff and campers attended in St. Luke’s Chapel before breakfast every morning. Bishop DeWolfe, Fr. John and thus the Camp itself tended to be pretty “high church” liturgically. I think it was every Thursday that we had a Solemn High Mass in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary with lots of incense, vestments, chanting and processing (we used the sanctus bell every day). Being the thurifer at those services is one of my most cherished memories, so much so that I looked for the thurible at the chapel when I visited last summer but couldn’t find it.
Even though I had been gone for 50 years and some things had changed (and there were no campers around), it still felt like the place that had been such an important part of my young life. I’m very glad that Camp DeWolfe has continued to be that kind of place for so many other young people in the Diocese and that others get to go on retreat there during the rest of the year.
by David Downes, Program Director, 1964 and 1965, Camp DeWolfe, Wading River, LI, NY
Send in your story today at email@example.com
During the summer, we had the opportunity to take lots of risks. As I learnt throughout the summer, taking these risks nearly always led to growth in either one’s faith, personal development or friendship with another counselor or camper. This was proven throughout my time at Camp DeWolfe.
The most obvious example of this was when I took the risk of traveling the 3,000 mile journey to America to become a counselor at Camp DeWolfe. Taking up the position of counselor sparked so many other chances to take risks, which would develop me as a person. So even though I was anxious before coming out to camp, I didn’t need to worry because along the way there was always support in my fellow counselors, unit leaders or in God. Sometimes it is important to take a leap out of your comfort zone.
Doing the challenge course for the summer, I saw the exact same situation happen on the high ropes course, most obviously with the ‘leap of faith’. Some of the children were naturally nervous however as they stepped out of their comfort zones, they were rewarded with a fun experience and a gain in confidence. As we can see from this metaphor, sometimes it is hard to break the mold of our comfortable daily routines and do something abnormal. But if we take the risk then we will gain a skill we hadn’t had before.
Juxtaposed the common belief, doing something out of norm can be rewarding and not petrifying. Camp DeWolfe has therefore taught me that I should take any risk that comes my way because that opportunity will not only lead to personal growth but also the chance to have fun doing it!
By Andrew Potterton
Summer Camp Counselor
My adventure started when pondering about my dreams and where I wanted to go in life. I secretly went off to a camp recruitment fair and got my job at Camp DeWolfe. (I pulled out of Camp interviews last year after loosing my Mum to cancer in late 2012 and didn’t feel ready.) It was a moment of mixed feelings, not knowing if it was going to be a good idea to leave my job and risk no wages for the summer and maybe after. I was so nervous handing in my notice, and was blown away at how well my boss took it. He congratulated me and wished me well, this started to make me realize I probably had made a good decision and began to out every fear and doubt I had in my mind, wishing my mum could be around to support me. Fear set in at the airport knowing there was no going back, I gave my Dad an awkward hug and went through the barrier, walking away from everything that was familiar to pursue my ‘adventure’.
By the time we, 9 Brits and a Kiwi, arrived at camp we had already started bonding as a group, the friendship I missed that I had with my best friend, my Mum, sharing more than time together but the love of God and Jesus. She guided me spiritually for so much of my life and in loosing her I have lost a part of me, but here at camp, the location and people make me realize how easy life can be. I feel the moment I got here I offered up all my troubles to God and allowed myself to fulfill my life here. Back in England I had been dragging this sadness and the need to fill my mothers space to support my family without releasing the pain I really felt.
The first day of camp I got given my LIT girls, it was a moment knowing that I wanted to do good by God to teach them their own place in the world as a leader, whilst I wasn’t even sure where I stood as a leader myself in this situation. I now look back and a natural instinct took over and I became the person I needed to be, the person I thought I had lost. These amazing young people quickly became my family, for 5 weeks we went through every emotion a family would and I cherished them all like my own children, funny that they started calling me ‘Mom”. I appreciated where my role was in their lives at camp and that will stay with me forever.
We had a service down at the beach with Adventure Camp, this was a time I recognized I had never allowed God to help me out, I had banished all help from others knowing that no one on earth could relieve the pain. We wrote on a stone a message to God to heal someone or us and then threw it into the sound to offer to God and release. Since then I have had a slow release of my burdens. I take my situation in a positive way, but now I know that it is true rather than an untrue emotion put on to show others.
This has been the most amazing experience I have partaken in and it has exceeded every expectation I naively had. Nothing prepared me for this many life lessons, true friendship, a new family and most wonderfully an enriched love of God and his creation.
By Roz Bryan
Summer Camp LIT Leader
I have been to America many times in my relatively short life (eight in total if you include lay-overs), but this trip would be markedly different to my other visits to the land of Uncle Sam. For one, it would be the first time that I would be traveling alone (although I would meet some amazing people) but more significantly, it would be the first time I would be working at a summer camp.
Prior to this trip my only experience of a summer camp was watching The Parent Trap (a million times) as a kid growing up in London so my knowledge of summer camps was minimal. I remember being really anxious about meeting my camp family, as I have no forms of social media, so I had no idea what they looked like, what their interest were or even what they were called. But, it seemed as though God knew exactly how I felt, and thankfully I was able to form a real special bond with all of the people at Camp DeWolfe.
In addition to meeting new people, I was also preparing to learn how to teach rock climbing/ challenge course. However, as usual, God delivered and I became a good instructor which was due to my professional training and outstanding co-workers at the challenge course, whose help and patience towards me was invaluable during staff training.
In my opinion, the main theme for me for summer has been growing as a person and more importantly as a Christian. I choose to take a positive stance, for I am extremely grateful for the people I met (young and old), the skills I have learned, the places I have visited and the Christian I have become, because as usual, God delivers.
Written by René Leonçe
Summer Camp Counselor and Climbing Instructor
Hopping off the plane and realizing after traveling for about 27 hours and finally here. Wow! Day dreaming for some time of what summer would be like; I didn’t realize how amazing it would be. Let me take you back to the beginning.
I heard all about summer camps from friends that had been before and I had thought long and hard, praying if I should try it out. God challenged me to get out of my comfort zone and go for it. I fully trusted Him, giving everything over and watching as God revealed Himself to me throughout this Journey.
I Arrived stripped with nothing but God and myself, going into the unknown. I found my way onto the bus with all the English Camp De Wolfe staff, instantly sharing stories and getting to know one another. I didn’t realize at this point these people would become my family and long life friends.
All filing out of the Camp De Wolfe van, unpacking our luggage, feeling exhausted but excited to see what this summer had installed for us at the same time. We continued onto our next day at camp where the America staff arrives… they were great! Staff training then started and I learnt many new things. I got the privilege of training as a life guard and spent my summer life guarding at the Sound and the pool… Also earning myself an awesome TAN!!
Soon after, the first, second and third camp passed by, time really does fly by when you’re having fun! I have many good memories of being a counselor at Camp DeWolfe 2014, such as trying new things, learning new skills, being inspired, making new friends and most importantly learning more about God.
I am so thankful for all the fun, friends and experiences I’ve had this summer. I really don’t want to leave but I’ll hopefully be back next year. So till then.. Goodbye for now.
-By Beki Joyce
Summer Camp Counselor and Lifeguard