by: Naomi Graber Leary, Program Director
What an adventure! What a blessing!
When Kevin and I talk about our lives at Camp Friedenswald, the words “adventure” and “blessing” are continually present. We feel blessed by the opportunity to give our gifts to the powerful place that is Camp Friedenswald as Program Director and Coordinator, and we are excited about the adventures ahead.
I have been a lifelong Camp Friedenswald camper, which has made me committed to making the camper experience for youth and adults meaningful and transformative. Kevin grew up attending Camp Mennoscah, counseling and lifeguarding during college, which has also made him passionate about the power of camp in people’s lives.
Women’s Retreat was an especially blessed experience for me this fall. Throughout the weekend participants explored the theme Women Rising: naming, claiming and transforming through worship, workshops, camp activities and relaxing together.
So much of the weekend was due to the work of the Women’s Retreat Planning Committee – for over fifty years, Women’s Retreat at Camp Friedenswald has been planned by women from different regions across Central District Conference. And each year the spirit of those women – the work, energy, and passion that they have poured into planning the retreat –touches all who attend, providing opportunities for renewing and reconnecting. This year’s retreat was no different, as women from Central Illinois planned the weekend’s worship and play, using imagery of a tree as their inspiration.
Along with the many blessings of working at Camp Friedenswald, Kevin and I know there will be challenges ahead, both seen and unforeseen, and that is why we can’t do this alone. We rely on our co-workers here in the peaceful woods, a talented team we are inspired by. We rely on the campers and constituents, as it is you we hope to serve, and you we plan and work for. And we all together rely on God to lead us to greater things than we can accomplish alone.
At Women’s Retreat I spent Saturday evening around a table with my mother, aunts, Grandmother, and other friends, as we all sang Camp songs together.
As I sat around the table with these women, listening to them singing songs from their childhood at Camp Friedenswald, singing along to the few I knew, I felt in my heart how important the work of this place is for people’s lives, and thought again – What an adventure! What a blessing!