Working as a counselor at Camp DeWolfe for the summer has been a life changing experience. I have been gifted with the perspective, humor, activities, and spirituality of amazing campers who are brave, funny, unique, smart, and talented. I will never forget all the girls who came and made Great South Bay a home away from home. Whether singing the Taco Tuesday song before dinner, learning how to play and lose at Gaga every day, launching rockets after a week of fun preparation, or the silly songs before meals that found their way into our shower time because they were so catchy. All these and more memories will be with me for a long time along with the Spirit that every camper came holding in their hearts. The thing that clicked for me toward the end as I reflected during an insightful Devos, is that every single person at camp has Loved and expressed that Love in a special and powerful way. Whether it’s in riddles or jokes, side hugs and songs, or those hard times when I could be the shoulder when mom wasn’t there…all that was Love.

I learned patience and the very true fact that God is in all of us so we are All Good. There is no such thing as a bad kid. Only kids who need to be Loved differently, who challenge me to be Jesus for them. I appreciate the practice for when I go back to the Big City and have to work that into my daily life. These kids are magical. Society tries to take that magic and I saw some of it fading in the older campers, when we began to care about what others thought more than what God thinks. But the magic is still there, it just needs permission to break through and free us.

One of my favorite parts was daily affirmations in Devos when we would pick a girl each night for everyone in the cabin to affirm. So much honesty, positivity, and Love was spread and the girls looked forward to it every night. We need to do that every single day for ourselves and each other. I pray they walk away knowing they have permission to cry and feel those hard feelings because as we learned, Jesus got mad and cried too. But that we can move past the negative and not let it define us. I pray they walk away knowing they are Loved not for what they do or how many likes they get but because they exist and are God’s Creation and God didn’t make one thing that wasn’t Good.

With Love + Ubuntu,

Santana Alvarado (GSB)