20 years summers ago I first stepped foot onto the grounds of what would soon become my favorite summer camp. I had been to other camps with my dear friend (who is responsible for introducing me to said soon-to-be favorite summer camp), but this one was different. There was something about it that immediately captured me… maybe it’s just that is wasn’t settled in the woods or mountains. There is nothing wrong with a good wooded campground where you sleep in tents and go outside to the wash house… but I am a beach girl, through and through. When I noticed that this camp has a few big beautiful oaks but was mostly surrounded by water, and had a beachfront… I was immediately smitten. Then, as my first week at summer camp went on I realized my love was deeper than the pretty scenery. I loved this camp because it had a million fun activities but I mostly loved the people. The counselors, the kitchen staff, the guy who mowed the lawn… I just loved them all. And I was so blessed by how they loved me- and more importantly how they effectively shared God’s love with me. And ever since that first summer, 20 years ago, I have spent a week or two or eight at this very same camp. It’s been a huge part of my growth, a huge part in strengthening my walk with God, a place where I’ve learned, tried new things, a place where I have had the most fun, met the greatest friends, shed the most tears, and been the most frustrated as I am stretched and challenged. The last five years my husband and I have been able to work and serve alongside one another year-round at this camp, which has been one of the most amazing things for us individually and as a couple. It is a very large part of my story and, my prayer, is that it will forever be a place that is woven into my story for years to come.
In a little less than 3 weeks, Ben and I will end this chapter (although again, doesn’t mean it ceases to be a part of our story). In a little less than 3 weeks my job will be done here at camp and I will be moving on to do photography full-time. Ben and I talked about this “move” almost 9 months ago- and I could not be more thankful for my supportive and amazing husband who completely stands behind me. This business still has a lot of growing to do but when I first told Ben this is what I wanted to pursue, it was all so so new. And he didn’t scoff at me- at all. Instead he encouraged me. (He has always been the nice one in the relationship). ;) So, with that, as I have been working on weddings and portrait sessions here and there- starting mid-August, photography will be my full-time job. And I feel so blessed and overwhelmed and unworthy and excited and anxious and everything in between, about pursuing photography full-time. And as for moving on from my job at camp- it’s bittersweet, as they say. It’s hard to imagine not being as deeply dedicated to working here at camp, as I have been for years. But I know that this is what God has for us and Ben and I both feel so at peace about it. It’s an exciting time of change and transition, but undoubtedly it’s a little scary. And sad. But we are not going far of course, and I am hopeful that there will be ample opportunities to be involved at camp as we do move on to this “something new”. And so, it’s a good move, a good farewell- albeit bittersweet.
This summer so far has been a wonderful one, and I am forever thankful for the many summer staffs I have been a part of and I am so so thankful for this year’s summer staff. It’s a wonderful way to finish out my time here, working with these people. So, I thought this was the best “self-portrait” for the month of July. This is our 2012 summer staff (minus a few people who sadly couldn’t make it). I know self-portraits do not typically include 70 other people, but I thought is was fitting as I finish out my summer at camp. I love these 70 some people with a deeply grateful, humbled, and joyful heart.
The real question is- can you find me?!? :)
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