Going along with the list of monthly blogs, this is one that couldn’t come at a better time. I told you I’d write monthly. I realize I said that last year too and that it’s only two months into 2018, but have some faith! (Pun intended).
When I was a kid I remember going to camp and being on that camp high for weeks afterwards and feeling so connected into my faith. I stopped going eventually until the summer before my sophomore year when I was brought to Twin Rocks by a family friend.
I met a lot of great people at the camp and have gained some life long friends and mentors out of it. I was a camper through Grad Camp in 2013 and a counselor for multiple camps since 2011 up until Surfside of 2017.
Twin Rocks is a Friends camp, and I was one of the many people who went to the camp and didn’t ever identify as a member of the Quaker (Friends) community. That was okay though because it was pretty generalized each year I went so I didn’t feel so obligated to know everything about Quakers or their community.
Over the course of time I’ve been around the camp, there’s been a lot of division happening. Without going into detail, it has become something that has been deteriorating the atmosphere and community that I’ve known Twin Rocks to be. A lot of people who have been going to this place every summer or other times of the year for conferences or camps, have stopped coming and you don’t hear about them at Twin Rocks anymore.
Like I said, I’m not Quaker. So when people started asking me about what was happening and why certain people weren’t coming back, I couldn’t really give a solidifying answer. The summer family that I’ve grown to be a part of over the years has dwindled down to just a few people.
I could compare it to graduating from high school and losing contact with people when you finally move on to college. There’s still a few people you might talk to, but everyone else in that circle might become someone you acknowledge the existence of.
I plan my summers around camp, or at least that’s what I’ve done for the past 7 years. For 2-3 weeks every summer I’d be there waiting in anticipation to see old campers I once had, or people I counseled alongside. Always leaving each week feeling like a changed person or at least with new knowledge and new friends.
This summer is different though. Because of the division of Quaker churches in the Northwest, people who don’t identify as Quakers have not been asked to return like they normally would. Not only that, but some Friends churches aren’t necessarily welcome at the camp either unless they are a camper. This is what I’ve come to understand and it’s pretty heartbreaking for those of us who go yearly.
I will not be returning to camp this year and it’s something that’s been on my mind since the end of last summer. The camp is lacking on Jesus and it’s sad to see that it’s not at all structured the way it was when I was a camper. I can respect the camp for trying to enforce their ways, what I can’t understand is why Twin Rocks would go through a more thorough screening process that pushes people out. I am hurt that this isn’t a family now and that it doesn’t open its arms to everyone anymore. I’m sorry for the people who haven’t got to experience it in the way I did or even the people who have been mentors to me have.
So to my campers over the years or the campers who latched onto me from other cabins, you have a light in you. You are all beautiful individuals who deserve the world. Do not let people put you down, or tell you who you can and can’t be, because each of you is extraordinary. Find guidance in the people who spread love, and don’t be ashamed to be your true self. If you’re returning to camp, make sure you break it down at the dance parties and always look by the shelter during counselor hunts. Look for the good in everyone you come to meet whether they’re at camp or not, and continue to share your grace. Even though I won’t be at camp this year or in the future, I will never turn you down if you want to keep in touch. You will always be my campers and I will always care about you.