Ewalu: A Constant in My Ever-Changing Life
The summer after second grade, I spent my first week at Camp Ewalu. I had never been to camp before, but I was so incredibly excited to have this new experience. I knew I loved the outdoors and I knew God was a huge part of my life because my family had moved halfway across the country from Florida to Iowa so my dad could attend Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque. I was never one to dread time away from my parents or home and the thought of going away to camp for a week without them, was more exciting than the possibility of going to Disney World. I was young, excited, and ready to take the week head-on. For the next seven years, Ewalu would serve as a place that I eagerly awaited every spring and dreaded leaving the second I got there.
From second grade to ninth grade, I moved towns and schools four times due to my dad’s call to pursue ministry as an ELCA pastor. Because of this, I often found it hard to make friends and steadily keep anything consistent in my life besides camp. Camp was the one thing that I knew I would have every summer without fail. I knew it would always be there for me to feed and rejuvenate my faith through the power of an intentional community of Christ and the great outdoors. Every summer I came home happier, more loving, and ready to serve this world in any way I could.
In ninth grade my family moved back to Florida to a new church, and I knew Ewalu would be what I would miss the most, and I did. For two years, I went to camp somewhere else and it just didn’t feel the same. It didn’t feel like home. During my junior year of high school I remembered the LT program at Ewalu and how badly I wanted to be an LT when I was younger. For about four months I repeatedly felt a pull to go back, and I knew I needed to. It was almost like the Holy Spirit was my mom, nagging at me to fill out that application and see where it would take me, so I did. That summer, I hopped on a plane, and very excitedly came back. As I drove into camp, the excitement brewed inside me. That evening at the opening campfire in the midst of all the singing, I was flooded with a strong sense of home, and I knew Ewalu was a place where I felt God’s love, and it was a place where I belonged.
My experience as an LT was one I will never forget. It challenged me in ways I never expected and I tremendously grew in my faith and gained valuable leadership skills. Sharing the love and grace of God with campers all while exploring nature allowed me to think deeply and reflect on what God’s call for me is and how I can be a leader in this world for Him. Camp is an unforgettable place that will stir your soul and allow you to make friendships and connections that will last you a lifetime. The evidence of God’s love is strongly shown through the amazing staff and the beautiful chunk of creation that Ewalu has.
So, I would like to say thank you. Thank you to a place that I will always treasure and will continuously find my way back to. Thank you for being there for me and for countless other kids and staff every summer. Thank you for all of the challenges, Bible studies, campfires, hikes, friendships, and memories. Thank you for TRULY serving as a place apart that really does connect the word of God with the world of God.
Ewalu Summer Camper
2018 Leadership Training Participant