The following is the reflection of Nate Alleyne shared at our June 3rd 70th Anniversary Celebration. Nate has been a camper for a number of years and is very active in his home parish of St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church in Brooklyn.
I can relate to John 13:34 which reads “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” This is a simple enough commandment and needs no translation. I often liken it to my school motto – “to Whom Much is Given, Much is Required” since Jesus is telling his disciples and all of us by extension that since we are so graciously loved by God, we should in turn share this love with others. I lived this commandment from day one when I arrived at Camp DeWolfe and saw the atmosphere that was created by the camp staff and counselors and was easily transferred to all the kids. There was a comfort level whether kids did not hesitate to ask anything of or share their feelings with the staff and each other. Even though many of us were meeting each other for the first time, we left with a feeling that we have found lifelong friends in each other. I believe that everyone who is fortunate enough to spend time at this wonderful camp will truly be all the better for it.
Being at this camp has challenged me to leave all my prejudices and preconceived notions behind and just accept people as they are – Children of God. The daily services that we attended served to remind me that above all God is the center of our lives and that even though we are away at camp, that fact remains the same. These services were different to the ones in my home parish and I rather enjoyed them for the learning experiences, discussions and group chats that took place. The icebreaker activities allowed us to of course “break the ice” and get to know each other and to see the love of God in each other. We were able to turn to God numerous times in prayer, whether it be in the chapel, before bed, waking up in the morning, or even before the delicious meals we ate (Shout out to Chef Alex!!).
Joining together with other children from various age groups at Summer, Fall, and Winter camp has been able to show me the importance of God in anyone’s life and how He can easily affect you and put you in the right direction. Some of the lessons and things I learned at camp I still use to this day. A friend might hurt me every once and awhile, but I’ll find the good in them and be able to forgive them and move on without holding a grudge. Which brings me to my next bible verse reflection. Isaiah 43:18-19, a scripture reading we actually did analyze and make sense of at camp reads “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” This one reading sparked an entire weekend of reflection at camp which had altered a number of my friends’ perspectives on their relationship with God in their lives. They were able to reminisce about their old selves and behaviors and analyze them while creating positive new thoughts that they shared with us about how, through God, they have the ability to create new visions of themselves and their future based on this teaching instilled at camp.
We did things we probably will almost never get the chance to do again. We swam on the Long Island Sound, learned how to kayak and maneuver a canoe, how to sail, fish, play loads of new games and more. In performing these kinds of activities, we all improved our responsibility and teamwork skills, which also helped us to bond more and have a greater connection among ourselves and the camp leaders. My sister Krissy and I find ourselves singing all the songs and rhymes we learn there weeks after we get home sometimes to the annoyance of mom and dad. When I return to Camp DeWolfe, I hope to become an L.I.T. which stands for Leader in Training. These kids stay almost all summer and help out with numerous events and activities while staying together in Christ. Overall, I would say that Camp DeWolfe is one of the activities I look forward to each year for I know that I will be seeing old friends but also making new ones.
Finally, I want to take this opportunity on behalf of all campers, past, present and future to THANK Bishop PROVENZANO, THE BOARD OF MANAGEMENT and MATT and his overwhelming staff for caring for us.
Thank you for listening and thank you Camp DeWolfe!