My Spiritual Family: A Camp Wyoming Story
Your experience at camp isn’t an experience that should stay at camp. We want you to take what you learn and let it change you, so that you are a different person when you go home. Abbie Parker is is a Math and Teaching major at the University of Northern Iowa. She grew up in Newton, Iowa and will be returning this summer for her fourth summer on staff. This is her Camp Wyoming Story:
“Camp Wyoming is in my blood. My Grandpa and Grandma have volunteered at Camp Wyoming for decades, and my mother and father were both campers there when they were young. My brother loved Camp Wyoming and went twice a summer for several years. I have been to Camp Wyoming every summer since I was four. I started going to camp as a tag-along with my grandmother when she volunteered during T.T.T. Camp, a camp session for underprivileged 4th grade girls. I got to stay with the “big kids” in the cabin and go around to various activities. I went to lots of different sessions growing up, including You & Me Camp, Soccer Camp, Night Owls, and many more.
“I fell in love with camp from a young age, and I couldn’t wait to sign up and go back the next year; many years I couldn’t wait until the next summer, and I went twice during the same summer. As soon as I got to high school, I started volunteering. Even though my time as a camper was over, I didn’t want my relationship with camp to end. After my senior year in high school, I was hired for my first full summer on staff. I grew up so much, and I had one of the best summers of my life.
“That fall, not wanting that perfect summer to end, I went off from my hometown of Newton to college at the University of Northern Iowa to major in Mathematics & Teaching. Loving my faith experiences at camp, I sought out a church family to belong to at my new school. I tried out many different ministries and worship experiences. That spring, I went on a mission trip to Atlanta, Georgia, with the Presbyterian Campus Connections. This is where I found my place. I got a job as a Peer Minister through the organization at First Presbyterian Church in Cedar Falls. In the last three years, I have grown from being a new freshman looking for a place to belong to working at the church where I plan fundraisers, mission trips, and fellowship activities. I will be graduating in May, and my church in Cedar Falls feels like home.
“Through my time at camp, I have been a camper, volunteer, cabin counselor, LIT counselor, and I will be a Unit Director this upcoming summer. Each summer I have been at camp has been completely different. I have had new experiences, made new friends, and learned new things. Some of my best friends are those that I met at camp.
“Camp Wyoming has become my spiritual family. It is such a part of who I am that I cannot imagine my life without Camp Wyoming. It is because of my experiences there that I sought out opportunities at church in Cedar Falls and became a Peer Minister in order to pass on all that I had learned to other students at UNI. Camp Wyoming helped make faith a real part of my life, and now I get to have an impact on the lives of others.”