It’s been a summer unlike any other in Camp Friedenswald’s 70-year history. The loss of summer camp is certainly felt by campers and staff alike. The absence of children and young adults in the peaceful woods is tangible. But I’d be remiss not to share a glimpse into the ways that life, joy, and connection persists at Camp Friedenswald – even in the midst of a pandemic.
One month ago we reopened by introducing the Camp Getaway. We imagined there’d be interest – perhaps from a few who knew Camp Friedenswald as a second “home” or those who especially felt the loss of summer camp for their children or family. What we didn’t imagine was the outpouring of support and interest in the Getaway from a wide range of folks – quickly filing all available spaces – and prompting us to add additional dates as the requests poured in.
The longing for a retreat away from home, a place where many have felt confined over the past months, is REAL. The gift and ability that Camp Friedenswald has to respond to this longing by offering a place of retreat – is also REAL.
We are finding ourselves living into our mission in new, unexpected ways this summer. Camp has always provided a space to retreat. A space to renew. A space to reconnect. And this summer it’s no different. Life, joy, and connection — it persists! In a time that’s held plenty of disappointment and loss, there is much for which we are giving thanks.
Last week a family with two young children joined us, leaving behind their home in a large Midwestern city. Since March they’ve been confined to their home, longing for the opportunity wander in green open spaces without worry of too many people congregating into small parks or playgrounds. Arriving at Camp, they all felt relief – even if the children couldn’t articulate it. Relief from the stress and strain they didn’t even know they were carrying until they had the opportunity to step away from the daily demands, to breathe, and to wander in shaded green space and swim in open water. To have a few days when meals were delivered to their door and no one needed to wonder what’s for dinner; where they could step outside the cabin without worry of masks or crowded walkways; where they could greet the new day by the water’s edge because, of course, the kids were awake at that hour.
These are the gifts that Camp Friedenswald has been able to provide this summer. These are the ways that we’re living into our mission to provide opportunities for people of all ages to GROW in relationship with God, themselves, others, and nature.
It surely looks different than it did in previous summers, but the impact is real.
We welcome your continued support as we find our way in these days, attending to the opportunities to live fully into our mission and values in new and creative ways.
Thank you for your care and concern for Camp Friedenswald! Your connection and support is deeply appreciated.