When the news that campers and staff would not be coming to Widjiitiwin this summer I was (and still am) absolutely heartbroken. Throughout the past four summers either working or volunteering at camp I have witnessed God using Camp Widjiitiwin to transform my own life and the lives of countless other campers and staff.
Our theme verse here at camp comes from Galatians 5:20, which says “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” This verse has become the reason why I keep coming to camp. Although camp can be difficult, summers can be long, and pay would be better working an hourly job, the opportunity to be a representative of Christ to kids and to grow into a better ambassador for Him priceless.
So a few weeks later when Heyoo came to us with an offer to work at camp this summer making camp-in-a-box, eCamp, an audio drama, and maintenance projects, I was over the moon. Although it wouldn’t be a normal summer at Widji, it would be an opportunity to carry on the Galatians 5:20 vision in some capacity. And what a summer it has been!
If there were one word to describe the first four weeks of our camp experience this summer it would be intense. In our first week, we planned and tested all of the crafts and activities that would be going in our box, making a material list for each of our TNT, Blast, and teen boxes. In the second week, we wrote all of the activity instructions for the boxes, gathered all of the camp-in-a-box materials from town, created an assembly line, and packed the initial 29 boxes for campers. After shipping these boxes, the focus for weeks 3 and 4 was to produce five days’ worth of content for the eCamp portal. This meant learning how to operate cameras, lighting, and audio, getting comfortable with talking and acting in front of a camera, working to a schedule to produce three or more videos a day. Some of our team members spent hours editing and publishing the videos to the portal. These initial weeks were certainly a stretching and learning experience for the team.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul writes: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” During these opening weeks of camp, this verse certainly rang true. God was able to take a group of four young adults with little to no acting experience and limited video editing history, and grace us to create a platform bringing hope and joy to campers. Throughout those weeks I was completely blown away at how God’s power was at work giving us the energy, attitude, and drive amidst our weakness to produce five days worth of camp content.
After these beginning weeks, our focus at camp for the rest of the summer shifted to completing maintenance projects around the property, sending out orders for camp-in-a-box, recording an audio drama, performing weekly live events and responding to camper submissions on the eCamp platform. Hearing the camper’s reflections about God from the creation thankfulness walk or seeing them interact with the camp live streams were big blessings and energy boosts throughout the summer. It’s mind-boggling to think that God was using us to share His Word and transform the lives of campers, even from a distance!
Coming into this summer I wouldn’t consider myself to be much of a handy-man. However, the most impactful aspect of this summer for me was working on maintenance projects around the camp. From putting in a gravel parking lot to raking leaves by the cabins, demolishing half a kitchen to paving a new pathway, or painting shacks and fascia to fixing steps, our team was very proud of the work accomplished around the property this summer. 1 Corinthians 10:31 states “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” When I think about the life of Jesus I am reminded how He humbled Himself, stepping down from heaven to serve those around Him. He washed the feet of His disciples, fed the crowds, and ultimately went to the cross for the sins of the world. This verse and example helped me to realize that even the seemingly medial or dull tasks completed with a prayerful heart and cheerful attitude can bring glory to God.
All things considered, there is just something so special about the ministry of Camp Widjiitiwin. Summer after summer it has given me the opportunity to fail, learn, do hard things, serve God, better understand myself, and take responsibility. It has challenged, inspired, matured, stretched, and grown me in so many different ways. I’m so thankful to God for how He has used Widji to transform my life and many others this summer.
Here’s to the summers at Widjiitiwin to come!