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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sr. High

It may be a result of advancing age, but like just about everything I encounter these days, this year’s Senior High Camp at Noronto was the source of many memories and reflections.

I first attended Noronto Senior High as a camper; I believe it was in 1965. I would have just turned seventeen. In those years there was no A-frame dorm, and the boys all slept in tents, which we pitched and trenched ourselves, next to the chapel. As a teen I had a lot of anger, or what we would now call ‘attitude’, mostly due to the natural process of growing up but also because of what I then saw as injustice during my early years. I had not yet learned that trials and difficulties may be blessings in disguise, or that how we handle those will shape and reshape our character throughout our lives. Senior High camp was one of several occasions when love broke through my anger and made one of many needed course corrections to my life’s path. Thank you, God.

The staff member I remember most clearly from that camp is Paul Winegarden. Paul, as a young adult, gently and patiently talked to me about my habits and choices, and gradually helped me bring them into some kind of perspective. I will always be grateful to him for that. I’m sure it would have been easy to write me off as hostile and uncooperative, but Paul’s gentle caring was and is a blessing I have never forgotten. Without Paul and many others who gently cared and guided during those difficult years, I doubt I would be here today. Paul, should you ever happen to read this, Thank you!

It is now forty-five years later and in some ways not much has changed. Oh the grounds are different with dorms and bunks instead of tents with bedrolls on the ground. The chapel has a lovely wooden floor instead of sand, and there are plastic chairs instead of rusted old theatre seating.

Yet the more things change, the more they stay the same. Campers still come to camp from many different places and circumstances, and with a wide variety of experience. Some of those campers come with wounded souls and problems that are very real; much more serious than anything I experienced at that age, although I probably would not have thought so then. Life in 2010 is no easier than it was in 1965 and for many it is significantly harder.

And yet there are still caring staff members who reach out to campers in love and patience, offering a hug here or a word of encouragement and hope there. They believe that even the most wounded souls can find healing and peace in this community. Perhaps the most amazing and wonderful element of this is that many of the current staff members who heal so effectively were themselves wounded campers just a few short years ago. They were slowly and carefully loved into healing, and now they do the same for others. It is a wonderful process, and I thank God for the wounded, the healed, and the healing!

Posted by Carman

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