As 2018 comes to a close and Advent begins the new church calendar year, it is an exciting time to pause and reflect upon how God has been moving during the last year. And also to pause and pray for how God will be moving in the upcoming year too.
In our family, God has surprised us in many ways this year. God has reminded us that His plans are always better than what we can strive to do in our own strength. His timing is perfect, His love is never ending, and His grace is abounding. We are so grateful and humbled for the gifts of life, hope and healing, that extend to us all, without limitation or exclusion.
One of God’s biggest gifts and surprises to us has been our son Joshua, who teaches us every day, more and more about how to wonder, explore and know no boundaries in all things. The sky is the limit with this guy and we adore his big personality, character and soul!
Additionally, seeing the extravagant love that our daughter Madison has for her little brother is also a surprise we delight in and treasure in our hearts. The real surprise is in how God turns everything right side up; for it is not us who are teaching these children, but rather it is us who learning from these two children of God!
And furthermore, what a joy to serve in a ministry where the vision is in providing a natural setting for people to engage in community and empower them to live out an outward and visible expression of the love and grace of Christ. More surprises here too… As we serve, it is us who are blessed. As we give, it is us who receive. As we teach and train young people, it is us who are taught and learn from them.
Our children are teaching us and reminding us every day – how to love, how to live, how to laugh, how to wonder, how to play, how to explore, how to rest, how to learn and how to grow. By embracing simplicity and grace that has already been given to us, through Jesus Christ and His life and love. What a joy and surprise!
Our hope is that you too continue to embrace the same joy, simplicity and freedom during these Advent and Christmas seasons. We thank you for journeying with us during this season. Thank you for your time, prayers, energy, hearts and faith, in choosing to make a difference in the lives of others, both through the temporary camp community and in the local communities we each find ourselves in.
Join us as we pray – “Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.” (Advent Prayer – Episcopal Diocese of Texas)
We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Peace and blessings to you and yours.
-Matt and Emma Tees
Camp DeWolfe is no longer filled with campers laughing, swimming, or roasting marshmallows but that doesn’t mean the space isn’t being used. This fall, guests have snuggled into beds, gathered around good food, and found a place of rest and refresh. Weekends are filled with hosting groups and weeks with preparing the space for these groups to fill.
As buildings are painted, floors mopped, and laundry folded I get time to think about these spaces and the people who fill them. Physical space is a way we communicate what is important. The first building you see when pulling into camp is the St Luke’s Chapel, because we want Christ as the center of all we do. The windows are endless as to invite light to enter and fill the space. Thanks to a generous donor, our beds are comfortable because both physical and spiritual rest can be found here.
Nine months of the year Camp DeWolfe is a space that people come, use for a couple days, and leave. But I believe that physical space communicates something about who God is. That what can be found in those few days guests are here– rest, community, growth, – is made complete in this space.
My prayer for the people who come to this place is that God would whisper “Take off your sandals, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground” just as God said to Moses. May Camp DeWolfe be a space where God shows up.
-By Lizzy Rice
Cape Town, South Africa
3. Position on Staff?
4. Most excited about for this summer?
Travelling, as it will be my first place out of the country – and meeting new people!
6. Favorite Camp DeWolfe Core Value and Why?
Natural Setting – Love being by the beach and open fields and love speaking to God this way!
7. Favorite camp activity and why?
Sports, Bonfires, Swimming!
8. Favorite parable?
The Parable of the Mustard Seed!
8. Best way to spend a Sunday afternoon?
We don’t do much on a Sunday afternoon – for us, it is quiet time.
As I reflect upon my time here at Camp DeWolfe this summer, there have been many highs. For me, one of the greatest things has been the team of counselors that I have worked alongside this summer – their unending support and friendship has been such a blessing to me and I will always be grateful to them for that.
All the children that were placed in my care this summer brought with them a variety of dynamic personalities, which meant there was never a dull moment each day. Living with and teaching them taught me the importance of having endless patience and enthusiasm, to maintain discipline and keep them entertained.
I thoroughly enjoyed coaching ‘Street Hockey’ as one of my main activities this year. The kids in my team were motivated and many of them had played before and so were of a good skill level. Coaching this activity increased my leadership and planning skills.
Overall, I have many memories from this summer and have grown a lot as an individual. The experiences I have had will be of great benefit to me in the future.
By Lucy Boyd
Summer Camp Counselor
My summer at camp has been an adventure from start to finish. Although often stressful, seeing the campers energetic and having fun is rewarding proof that our efforts were worth it.
Being able to lead or join in with activities was the highlight of my camp. Teaching paddle boarding every morning alongside Cam was daunting at first, but soon became my favorite part of the day. Being able to take part in activities, such as archery and street hockey was a great opportunity to connect with the campers while also having fun.
I have worked alongside a great team all summer and couldn’t have wished for better colleagues/ friends during this time. Through highs and lows, they have been a great support and exceptionally hard workers, for which I can never thank them enough.
By Alasdair Taylor
Summer Camp Counselor
I am by no means a professional photographer. I’m more of a self-taught wanna-be. As a girl I wandered around my neighborhood with one of those disposable cameras, trespassing on our neighbors’ lawns to take pictures of their flowers. Once I filled the roll, I’d run home and beg my mom to have the pictures developed. Waiting at least a week for my master pieces to be developed seemed like ages. Most of the time my finger would cover a corner, or the flower was blurry.
A joy of my role is getting to capture the camping experience through pictures and videos. Over the years, my eye for the right frame has been sharpened and I no longer have blurry fingers on the edges of photos. I know just enough about photography to be dangerous, but it is a skill that brings so much joy. Thanks to modern technology friends and family can see what goes on at camp the day it happens. After snapping a photo, I can immediately show the campers their smiling faces. If a shot doesn’t turn out quite like I like it, then I can take as many more as I want until the frame is just right. Results are immediate and there is a chance for do-overs in this digital age.
What a gift it is that I get to capture a piece of God’s beauty in the smiling faces of campers. Capturing the moments around the campfire, competing on the sports field, or raising a sail forever reflect God’s beauty. In this fast-paced life, it is a struggle to go slowly and notice God’s beauty. As I flip through the photos from this summer I am again reminded to thank God for the memories made at camp and the beauty that surrounds us.
-By Lizzy Rice
I enjoyed the water front throughout the summer – it was hard work every day, but I was happy when at the end of a session, with a group of campers, they were all able to paddle board to a high standard.
I also enjoyed being able to be a leader throughout the summer with certain tasks, such as overseeing my own cabin – it was very stressful, but taught me skills such as patience.
I was happy when I saw the kids having a good time and it helped a lot more when it was because of me that they were enjoying them self.
It was also nice to get away from the insanity’s of city life for a while.
By Cameron Morris
Summer Camp Counselor
Travelling 10,512 miles away from my home, Australia, to get to Camp DeWolfe is one of the scariest and best things I could of have ever done. It’s crazy how quickly I have became friends with twenty strangers from all different walks of life.
I’m really thankful for the staff training to aid me on how to handle the kids. When the kids came, it was like walking into a whole new experience and I’m glad that I have made this choice to come to America.
Working at a summer camp is one of the hardest job that I have ever done. Looking after the kids for 24/7 for six weeks definitely has it’s ups and down. But for every bad moment, there was always a good moment just around the corner. And there will always be a memory I can look back on and have a good laugh about it.
-By Chelsea Martin
Summer Camp Counselor
Travelling 3,373 miles away from home to a camp seemingly in the middle of nowhere, to work with 20 strangers from around the world was believe it or not the scariest experience of my life. To say that I wasn’t ready to hop right back on a flight to England as soon as I landed would be a lie. However, the fact that I didn’t do this turned out to be the best decision of my life.
Camp DeWolfe is a place where I got to meet the most amazing people, living with people 24/7 for 9 weeks was far less difficult than I expected. Particularly because my fellow counselors turned out to be the most supportive, loving and strong people that I’ve ever met.
Camp DeWolfe is also a place where new skills are learned and an impact on campers lives is made, this happens all whilst being surrounded by the most beautiful setting, one that I could never tire of even if I tried.
Throughout the summer, I definitely experienced my fair share of highs and lows. However, I’ve come to learn that even on your bad days something will happen that makes everything worthwhile. For example, when a camper you thought was paying no attention all week, tells you he bought the camp sweatshirt just to remember all the counselors by, or when a camper works so hard everyday only to tell you he’s just trying to earn the most improved award, or even when you’ve told the same camper for the tenth time that day that you don’t live in Buckingham Palace at home – it all makes it entirely worthwhile.
By the end of my time at Camp DeWolfe, I realized just how much I learned about myself in one summer and for me, that’s what made this a truly unforgettable experience.
-By Erin Lond
Summer Camp Counselor
Camp was very fun this year and was a great experience, changing from a counselor to a unit leader. I had a lot more challenges and responsibilities this year, which was difficult at times, but much more rewarding at the same time.
For me, not many moments stood out, but times where everything has gone to plan and the program or activity ran smoothly. When everyone is having fun, full of energy and bounces of each other.
A fun time was when we were playing Save the King and Queen. I was a dungeon master. Campers and staff had to do many funny challenges to get out! Some examples were:
*I’m a little tea pot
*Best counselor impressions
*Best dance moves
*Best prayer song
Be another wonderful year at camp and hold lots of memories!
By Alex Pond