"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
"Mommy, can we come back to camp?" The question is posed by my 4 year-old last week during Family Camp. We weren't getting ready to leave - in fact, we'd only been at camp for a few hours! But this is her 3rd year as a Family Camper, and those summers plus the many other visits to camp have already made an impression on her. She knows this is a place of beauty and peace.
Even as we always return (and she knows we will), still she asks, just to be sure.
When I first stepped onto property as a timid 12 year old, I couldn't imagine what was ahead. I couldn't imagine the lifelong friendships I would make that summer, and the many more friendships that would follow later on staff - and even more in my adult life at Caroline Furnace!
As an awkward teen I certainly couldn't imagine what it would mean to be a mother to campers and watch them also fall in love with this place.
Caroline Furnace takes me home. This is home to a perspective on life that is both simpler and more complex than the noise that surrounds us in our daily lives. This is a place alive with both a confident stillness and the loud, joyful beauty of God's creation. This is a place of restoration.
Home from camp now for just a week, the question persists. My answer is "Of course - we will always be back."
-Allison Ryals - Camper 1993-96, Summer Staff 1997-98, Camper Parent 2010-present, Board Member 2016-present