Camp News Blog

God’s Calling for Christian Camping

Posted on Sep 22, 2016

The following is an email that was sent by Kevin Witt, the director of United Methodist Camp and Retreat Ministries, on July 16th, 2016. It was sent to an email list of camping professionals to remind us what the purpose and power of camp really is.

Proud Winners

Proud Winners

A while back, I was talking with my daughter, Briana, who is now 30. She reflected on her time at several church camps she attended. I asked her why these faith based experiences impacted her and continue to be positive memories that shape her.

Here is the gist of some her thoughts:

“What always amazed me was the way very different people from many different backgrounds can come to live together and so quickly open up to embrace and support each other as friends. I mean everyone not just those who would normally get the attention and acceptance. Every time, without exception, a unique atmosphere grew and came alive that drew people to care for each other and to participate in a shared gracefulness to work through problems. Clicks, rejection, put downs just had no place. Nobody pushed that agenda, but it was somehow understood without coercion, but out of joy and respect. Camp was a safe place. That was a core value that people cherished and held close. I did not experience that consistently in school and other activities and groups I was a part of. In those environments, there was a lot of pressure to fit in and to meet expectations, and those who did not measure up were so often isolated or rejected passively or deliberately. I would say what impacted me most was the genuine experience of community among diverse people, and the very real possibility of nurturing that in life.”

What reminded me of that conversation is this passage from Romans.

Romans 12:9-18
Let love be genuine; hate what is destructive, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of others; extend hospitality to strangers…Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.  Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

This is the way of Christ. It happens more consistently because we recognize this and are attentive to intentionally nurturing it. I am deeply grateful to all of you serving within camp retreat ministry who dedicate yourselves to share the love of God with others by helping them to awaken to God’s presence and providing opportunities to build relationships that are a living expression of love. It may seem a mystery how this community happens, but I firmly believe it begins with our own openness and willingness to be shaped by the Spirit and the inexhaustible grace of God. It is less about never failing and more about the long haul – moving in the direction of God’s “Kin-dom”. This is our special calling that has value for the whole world.

You can learn more about Kevin and his work here:

Summer Staff Reflections – Issue 2 – Lucy Richards

Posted on Sep 15, 2016

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Lucy and her campers!

Lucy and her campers!

Working as a counselor at Camp DeWolfe has taught me many lessons about faith. For example, I aimed to increase my trust in God throughout the summer, and from pretty much the outset, I was given the opportunity to achieve this. Before arriving at camp, I was under the impression that I would be working in the ‘Adventure Challenge Course’, so I tried to prepare in the UK by attending a few rock climbing instructor sessions. However, during staff training I was asked to lead the activity ‘Wilderness’, which initially seemed daunting, as I had limited past experience in this area (I was more of a city girl than an outdoor enthusiast!). Although, whilst doubting myself, it suddenly dawned on me that this is God answering my prayers for building faith. God knows I like to plan as I want to feel in control of what I am doing, but as Mother Julie said to me, ‘we plan and God laughs!’. Instead we must allow God to take control as he knows what will achieve positive outcomes for both ourselves and others. When asked to lead ‘Wilderness’, I didn’t have lots of time to prepare, so by accepting the role I was forced to give God control and trust that he would grant me the wisdom to teach the activity well.

Throughout the course of the summer God showed me that it was the right decision to accept leading ‘Wilderness’ as I absolutely loved it! I thoroughly enjoyed thinking of engaging ways to teach the kids about God’s creation and using the natural setting to encourage them to be an embodiment of Christ. Therefore, one of the most valuable lessons I learnt this summer is giving God control of what you are doing by “trusting” in him “with all your heart” will allow him to “direct” you “to paths” of great joy, happiness and peace (Proverbs 3: 5-6). Working at Camp DeWolfe has been a significant part of my faith journey, and I’m very grateful to God for the wonderful experiences he’s allowed me to share with the staff and campers’

Lucy Richards
2016 Summer Counselor

Framing Our Days

Posted on Sep 10, 2016

Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night. – Psalm 1:1-2

In the Tent 1

You may have noticed that Camp DeWolfe has had a lot of media going up over the past couple of weeks.***  Anyone who has ever worked with media and the visual arts knows the term “framing.” Wikipedia defines framing in the visual arts as “a technique used to bring the focus to the subject.” Framing is how one uses all of the stuff; the setting of a photo or video, the lighting, the macro setting on a camera, the focus and zoom; to bring attention to the one thing in the shot that really matters.

That is how I’ve always thought about and understood the first two verses of the Psalms. Happy are those who don’t follow the wicked, but delight in the “Law of the Lord,” and meditate on it day and night. At the time that the Psalm was written, the “Law of the Lord” would have referred to the Torah, the Scripture of the Jewish community. A happy person meditates on Scripture day an night!

Why do you think the Psalmist says this? You see, framing is vital for our lives as well as for the visual arts. If we meditate day and night on the Scripture it helps to put everything else into focus. The Scripture itself is not the subject of our lives, but rather living for God in our daily struggles and joys. Starting and ending every day with Scripture simply helps to draw attention to God as the subject of our lives.The point of it all!

As we start this new season; as the days become comfortable and the nights chilly; as we go back to school and work after a summer of fun and adventure; consider framing every day with Scripture. Some mornings you may sleep in and not have much time. That’s okay! Read a single verse and think about it as you shower and get ready for your day. Some nights you may come home exhausted and fall asleep with a Bible on your chest. Great! You fell asleep meditating on the “law of the Lord”! I think you will find that even a small change in how you frame your day will draw your attention to the subject of our lives; living for the Father, in the grace of the Son, and through the power of the Holy Spirit!

Peace of Christ,
Nathan W. Saccol
Program Director

***If you haven’t seen them yet, check out our Summer Camp Videos and our new virtual tours of Meeting Spaces, Accommodations, and Davis Hall/ Food Service.

Ending Youth Homelessness

Posted on Sep 4, 2016

Karen and Alex

Karen (left) and Alex – 2013

Since working at Camp DeWolfe in 2013 as Program Coordinator, I have worked at CSH, a company that helps society’s most vulnerable people and builds healthy communities by using housing as a platform to improve lives. Part of that work is for the US Department of Housing Urban Development (HUD), which recently published an Ending Youth Homelessness Guidebook Series. These three guidebooks help community leaders and partners act to prevent and end youth homelessness through Planning, Collaborating with Mainstream systems, and using Promising Program Models.


You can find these Guidebooks on HUD’s website, or linked on CSH’s website.

Strong people come from strong communities, and I am grateful for Camp DeWolfe’s part in growing that in myself and so many people, and I am grateful for CSH and the opportunity to keep improving lives and communities!
Karen Bartos
Associate Program Manager for CSH
Summer Staff Alumnus

Summer Staff Reflections – Issue 1 – Bradley Grant

Posted on Aug 27, 2016

Brad with a Megaphone!

Brad Grant – always smiling!

This was my first year working at Camp Dewolfe, prior to my arrival I was unsure of what to expect. I taught paddle boarding and co-coordinated evening and weekend programmes, both completely new roles for me, both of which came with challenges and rewards. Witnessing campers and staff grow both physically, mentally and faithfully has been great. A lot of time and effort goes into making sure the campers have a memorable summer. For some campers, they may only come to summer camp once, which makes it twice as important to make sure they have a great time. A large quantity of that work happens behind the scenes, prior to the campers arrival, during staff training, and after campers depart. That’s what I and the staff are currently helping with now, having just finished for the summer, we are now taking down camp and making sure things are in place, ready to go for next year. Summer camp is a place to learn and grow as an individual, it’s a place to have fun, meet new people, and make awesome memories – everyone should experience summer camp!

Taking What We’ve Learned and Bringing it Home

Posted on Aug 12, 2016

Matthew 28:19

 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

 Well, here we are. The final two days of the final week of the final camp session of the summer at Camp DeWolfe. The last week of Adventure Camp has been really great! Our campers have gone on overnight camping trips to Wildwood State Park. They walked the beach from camp for a few miles to the beach access of Wildwood and then they pitched their tents and spent the night. The final group is out tonight and will be back tomorrow (Thursday) morning. Activity sessions have been “un-scheduled” in that, because of our small group of campers for the final week, we’ve just offered what they wanted when they wanted it. This week we’ve had Father Kino Vitet with us as chaplain. He is the Priest-in-Charge at St. Mark’s Church in Brooklyn. He will celebrate our final camp Community Eucharist tomorrow evening before our final closing campfire.

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 10.20.04 PMWe finished up with the Christian Formation curriculum last week but our theme of Courage in Community has continued through our Christian Formation this final week. This week we’ve been doing traditional Morning and Evening Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer each morning and night. These services come from the Daily Offices of the Episcopal Church and are a lovely way to begin and end the day. We have seen in daily scripture where community has been present in the life of Jesus and his disciples as well as how Jesus is always part of our lives and communities. Jesus calls us communities back home.

As Camp DeWolfe 2016 comes to a close we are thankful for the time that we have gotten to spend together with one another and for all the things that we’ve learned! Jesus has been present in our time together and our strength as a faith community has only gotten stronger. We hope to see you all again next year as we begin another summer as the Camp DeWolfe family! Until then, travel safely tomorrow, you are all in our prayers. Have a great rest of your summer and an even better year!

Grace and Peace,
Stephen Tamke
Christian Formation Director

The Holy Spirit Falls Where It Will

Posted on Aug 4, 2016

“While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. The Jewish believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.” – Acts 10:45

Here we are at the end of our second week of Adventure Camp! It has be an amazing two weeks of fun, laughter, and worship. We finished our first weekend program, Olympics, we are gearing up for our Hawaiian themed dinner tonight (and weekend!), and we are looking forward to our closing campfire for our campers who are leaving us tomorrow after their two week session has ended.  We have been blessed with some really awesome campers this year and we all have had a really wonderful two weeks. We have been blessed, as well, this week by the presence of Mother Kimberlee Auletta, the Priest-in-Charge at Church of the Nativity in Brooklyn. She is here with her son, Becket, who has been taking part in activities as well. Tonight, before our campfire, Mother Kimberlee will celebrate our final Eucharist together with our full Adventure Camp community before some leave tomorrow afternoon. These two weeks have been truly great!

We are just finishing up our two-week theme of Courage in Community during our Christian Formation program. This week we saw the stories of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the story of Esther, and the story of the Holy Spirit descending on the Gentiles in Acts. Through these stories we saw the themes of standing up for what we believe in, how to do justice, and how the courage to change is possible with the help of the Holy Spirit. We are all blessed by the gift of the Holy Spirit which we have received and we can live out our calls to be disciples of Christ by living out our call to spread that gift of the Spirit through our love for one another and our communities both at camp and at home.

Tomorrow we will have our closing ceremony for those campers who are heading home and then we will head into our second program weekend, Hawaii themed! We are looking forward to another awesome weekend program headed up by Brad and Katherine and the rest of our counselors. All of us here at Camp DeWolfe have been and are still blessed by the awesome leadership, skills, and faith of all our counselors. They’ve done an amazing job over these past two weeks and over the whole of the summer.  To those who are traveling tomorrow to pick up campers, prayers for safe travel are ascending for you, and to those we will see next week, you are, as always, in our prayers here at Camp!



Grace and Peace,
Stephen Tamke
Christian Formation Director

Scouts Make a Difference at Camp DeWolfe

Posted on Aug 4, 2016


Rohin McIntosh

There are a lot of people who have put a lot of love and hard work into Camp DeWolfe. Recently we have been blessed by the presence and work of Rohin McIntosh of Boy Scout Troop 94, Wading River (more info here). In order to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout a Boy Scout must organize and complete an “Eagle Scout Project” which gives back to the community. Rohin chose to give back here at Camp DeWolfe!

Through Rohin’s organization and the hard work of some great volunteers, Camp DeWolfe now has 3 tent sites, two firepits, and an extension to our nature trail. A huge thank you goes out to all of those involved including the following youth volunteers:

Uma McIntosh Alex Boulier Doug Jones
Danny Jones Andrew Jones Matt Hanson
Joe Stevens D.J. Doherty Axel Boisits
Sean Clahane Greg Curiel Nick Mango
Eric Kaspar Jack Kockenmeister Sean Maki
Shan Balcerak

Also, a huge thank you goes out to the following Adult volunteers:

Michael McIntosh Sumita Bhaduri-McIntosh Mr. Balcerak
Mrs. Balcerak Mr. Boulier Mr. Maki
Mr. Stevens Mr. Boisits
Tents Popped

Tents Popped

Rohin did amazing work and we have some great tent sites that will house campers all summer long! Just last night our Discovery Campers got to benefit from Rohin’s crewmembers’ hard work for the first time. A huge thank you goes out to all of the volunteers and especially to Rohin for these beautiful tenting sites, firepits, and extended nature trail.

Behold, I Give You a New Commandment: All You Need is Love

Posted on Jul 29, 2016

DSC_6436John 13:34-35

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Adventure Camp. Week 1  has begun! This week has been great as we now get to our second campfire of the session tonight! Our Adventure Campers have all moved in, gotten to know one another, and have almost finished their first full week of activity areas. On Monday they will start their new week with new activity areas. Tonight’s campfire, complete with songs and s’mores, will be a great way to mark our time together thus far and look forward to a great week ahead. Before the campfire we will have our first Eucharist of the week with Mother Julie in St. Luke’s Chapel. Mother Julie is the Associate Rector from Grace Church, Brooklyn Heights and she is an awesome addition to our Camp Family!  So far, this week has been a blast!

Our Christian Formation theme for this session is Courage in Community.  We are looking at different mini-themes that teach us what it means to live, work, and worship together as the Adventure Camp Community here at Camp DeWolfe. We’ve looked at, so far, at how we can be courageous in showing up for our fellow campers as well as at the courage to trust one another. The story of Ruth and Naomi, the commandment from Jesus to his Disciples to love another, and a passage of Jeremiah that we worked with this morning (Jeremiah 17:5-10) all give us glimpses into what it means to trust each other and God. Beginning tomorrow, we will move into our next themes which will take us through more of the Old Testament into the Gospel of Matthew through which we will see the themes of Standing up for what we believe in, Justice, Change, and Connecting. Our Adventure Camp community is still growing together but it is a strong Jesus-filled community!

This weekend we have our first weekend program of the session, which is run by two of our awesome counselors Brad and Katherine! The theme for the weekend is Olympics! We’re going to have a great weekend of fun and excitement as we all compete in various Olympic events. We will have our first Christian Formation session on the beach on Saturday night as the sunsets. Overall, this week has been an awesome one and I think we are in for a really amazing next week together! As always, all of you are in our prayers here at Camp DeWolfe!

Grace and Peace,
Stephen Tamke
Christian Formation Director

Blessed by St. Mark’s, Jackson Heights

Posted on Jul 26, 2016


Veil and Burse

Different people have different understandings of what a “worship service” is supposed to be. Some people see it as us communicating to God how much we love God. Some people see it as us seeking to experience God. Either way, Christians set time and space apart to come together as a community, pray, and sing songs to God. We like to call the space set apart for worship “sacred space”.

The things of worship show us that “sacred space” is set apart for something: the candles, the altar, the instruments, the vestments. All of these things say, “Something different is happening here.” All of these physical symbols help to create a space in which we can connect with the beauty, grace, and love of God.


That is why we are so thankful to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and Deacon Jason Moskal for providing us new parements for our altar. The Superfrontal they donated tells our campers and staff alike that St. Luke’s Chapel is set apart, that it is a place where we are going to experience God and God’s Kingdom. The beauty of the altar hanging reminds us that God gives us God’s best, and that God desires our best.

Thank you St. Mark’s!