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Reflections on the difficulties and joys experienced from working at a camp in a Covid world

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A group of volunteers worked together to build the tent camping shelter shown behind them. Collaborating to create something beneficial for others motivated their hard work and dedication.

This year has been interesting to say the least, but it has also been challenging, inspiring, and unifying in such a beautiful way. We were encouraged to gain new perspectives on life and the meaningful aspects of our existence while completely letting go of our ideas on societal normalcy. This is already a globally memorable experience, and hopefully we can utilize the strength gained during this time to continue meeting others in the face of adversity.

While we all had thoughts and dreams about how we wanted this year to unfold, every single one of us was met with the same challenges about how to reshape these ideas into something feasible within this chaotic world. You are amazingly strong and resilient because of this. You have become a better person because of this. You will continue to grow and flourish through every twist and turn you are met with on this life journey. Thank you for existing.

While I experienced all of this personally, it was quite different dealing with it professionally. I witnessed plans emerge and action steps taken only for them to be quickly disassembled upon the announcement of new rules and regulations. I encountered many kindhearted individuals who sought out solace from a world that has become all too chaotic and uncontrolled. I learned new skill sets, developed professional techniques, and spent far more time in an office than I was expecting to. All of the adversities and growths, hardships and joys, creativity and failures were experienced from a dedication to our mission of Touching Hearts, Changing Lives, and Sharing the Light of Christ.

This summer has been one of connection and determination. Through offering Day Passes to our community, we were able to connect with people in Cleveland County discovering Tekoa Foothills for the first time. There were families from Marion, Hickory, Charlotte, and even as far as Virginia that made the trek to quaint Casar to explore the uninhibited nature existing on the Foothills property. The biggest lesson I learned is that people truly have a deep desire to interact with nature and form a bond with their families outside the confines of their typical lifestyles. People need one another. People need a relationship with nature.

One of my favorite things about this summer was hearing stories from the residents of Casar who shared memories of playing in the creek, riding horses up and down the main road, helping to build the lake, and roaming the property when it was still known as Camp Loy White. I've experienced a sense of comradery that has inspired me to learn more about the history of this camp and of Loy White himself. Many of these people had no idea the property was open to the public again, and seeing their faces light up with joy as they reminisced on a place so special to them was humbling and awe-inspiring. Providing them a space to explore camp in a new, transformative light was a gracious reminder of the reasons why we have worked relentlessly to offer respite and retreat to our community.

Every single one of our offerings this summer was cultivated from a place of creativity and within a desire to understand and meet the needs within this community. We must have faith that even through all the changes and uncertainties, there is still a strong desire for recreation and reconnection. Within this strong desire there also must be a fierce commitment from our advocates to remain devoted to ensuring Tekoa Foothills continues to serve our community and their greatest needs. As we transition into a new season of life, we aim to deepen the bonds built this summer and move forward together with steadfast determination blended beautifully with harmony and love.

If you wish to support Tekoa Foothills or learn more about upcoming involvement opportunities, please reach out through Facebook or on our website https://tekoafoothills.org/.

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