A guest blog by Rhino
I have been part of Camp Widjiitiwin for almost nine years, and it will likely continue to be the place having the most influence on my life. As my fourth summer on staff comes to an end, I have been reflecting more on what this camp has meant to me. Camp became my second home when it showed me what it meant to be a Christian with a true relationship with God during my own SALT session. It also showed me how to love everyone the way we are loved by our Father and how to show people around me the love we all experience. If it weren’t for Widji I am not sure where I would be in my life and how I would have survived life without the many things I learned here.
The summer of 2013 was one of the most impactful summers I had here at camp. I was 15, trying to be rebellious and not at all in the mindset of “camp life”. My own family members had done the SALT program and they wanted me to participate and be at camp for as long as I could be since they knew the impact it could have on my life. After about the first 2 hours at SALT, I knew I had found the place I wanted to spend my summers and I met some of my best friends to this day. Through the course of my SALT session, I was taught what it meant to truly love the Lord and want a relationship with him. Here at camp, we do this thing called “foot washing” which is where the staff/your leaders wash your feet and pray for you. That night, when our SALT leaders washed our feet, I was overwhelmed by the love the staff had for me and how much they truly wanted to serve me. Go forward 3 summers and I still get to witness those serving hearts from the new staff I work with each day and it still blows my mind that so many young people want to serve kids and other staff for 2 months straight. Shortly after my SALT session, I was asked to stay at camp and volunteer as a cooks assistant. That was when I saw God truly work in my life, allowing me to spend another 7 weeks surrounded by other Christians and my own SALT leaders. I can never truly forget my first summer and how much it changed me for the better, and I cannot wait to see the SALTers of this summer come back and serve the campers of Widjiitiwin with all they have in them.
For two summers straight, I had up to 8 girls a week calling me “Rhino” and trusting me to make their week here the best week of the summer. When parents came to drop their kids off at camp they would come into the cabin and inspect the bunks, the cubbies, and the cabin mates their children would spend the whole week with, and they would give the cabin leaders the best questions they could come up with. I learned that showing the parents that we were going to love their children with the same love God gives to us was the best way to assure them their baby would be safe and have an unforgettable summer. God’s love is unconditional and undeniable. In Romans 5:8 it says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. To me, this verse shows that God loves us through it all and will never stop. As a cabin leader and a staff member in general here, we need to love every single one of these kids. No matter the difficulties they put us through or the buttons they push, we have been taught to love those kids with all our hearts and show them God’s love through us. Even not cabin leading, I have seen how much the kids that come here each week need to be loved and taken care of.
I hope through these few paragraphs and the subpar writing; you have seen what camp truly has meant to me. The way God uses the staff members here each summer to plant and water seeds in kids’ lives will never stop amazing me. I personally became a true Christian here at camp, and I don’t think I will ever be the same because of Widji. It is forever my second home and has blessed me with the greatest relationships I have had in my life.