I was lucky enough to have the kind of childhood Richard Louv exhorts. My brother and I literally used to walk across the back forty to our grandparents farm crossing forest streams, climbing hills and running through open fields imagining vines as giant snakes and trying hard to avoid cow pies.
I was also lucky enough to know most of my extended family very well: my parents siblings and my cousins, and even many of my grandparents’ siblings and my parents’ cousins. Family holidays and reunions, or just time at the lake with a few cousins, gave me an opportunity to learn more about what made my immediate family tick – for good and bad! I heard stories about the one room school house my grandparents went to, the goose that used to chase my mother as a girl at Grandma Ina’s house, and that time my cousin and I stuck maxi-pads all over the bathroom walls when we were little (c’mon now, they’re like giant stickers!).
Extended family is special. And whether we like them or not, they’re part of our story. These are the people that help define us.
Since the first weekend in January, I’ve been a part of the Camp Stevens Staff Retreat, the Camp Stevens Board Retreat, and the Annual Conference of Episcopal Camps & Conference Centers. In many ways these groups of people are like Camp Stevens immediate and extended family. They are special, they’re part of the story, and they help define Camp Stevens and, in many ways, they help define me and this new role I’m lucky enough to have.
Connecting with family is important – around the dinner table, at holiday festivities, or more haphazardly as time and life permit. These gatherings give us opportunity to celebrate our roots and share stories, to plant more seeds, planning for the future mission and ministry of our own lives and organizations, and to spread branches, bringing more folks into the fold.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am looking forward to hearing more stories from the Camp Stevens extended family and do hope yours is in the mix!
Whim: “sudden idea.” This weekly post promises a number of things: personal thoughts and reflections, showing off Camp Stevens’ programs and staff, announcements for upcoming opportunities, and answering questions or responding to comments “from the audience.” If you have a topic or question you’d like addressed, just e-mail Beth!