Alkulana has always been a major part of my life. As long as I can remember, I’ve been spending my summers in that little hollow between two mountains, and my brain is full of memories of hikes up Harper Hill, mornings spent on the bridge or swings while the world is still sleeping and it seems that only the creek is awake with me, and afternoon trips to the Dollar General for ice cream. It’s not just me, either. A love for Alkulana runs in the family, starting back with my grandmother when she was in college, tracing through the family tree all the way to the youngest member of our large crew, my younger brother.
As I entered into my first summer as a counselor, my anxieties began to grow. Being a counselor was harder than I had anticipated, and while I loved every second of my time with the campers, it was also extremely challenging. I had trouble bridging the gap between being the little kid running around camp and being in charge of keeping the new little kids safe. However challenging it was, though, I learned three important lessons that helped me grow both mentally and spiritually.
I learned that I needed to put my trust in God and that He would help me even when the days were hard. I learned that some days you just need to lay in your hammock in Piney Park with a good book and the sound of the creek. But most importantly, I learned that you can’t do it all yourself. It can be so easy when you’re stressed or overwhelmed to block everyone out and try to do everything all on your own, but sometimes you have to accept that you need help from the people you love.
That’s the thing I love most about Alkulana. Wherever you turn, there is someone who loves you waiting with open arms to offer you help, or advice, or even just a shoulder to cry on. God works through the people at camp to show you how much He truly loves you. I have yet to find a support system as loving and caring as the counselors at Alkulana, and I’m doubtful that I ever will. And that is the reason Alkulana is such an amazing place to spend your summer. Not because of the program, or the location, but because of the people you will meet, who will be important to you long after you leave.
by Kate Wakeland
Kate has been at Camp Alkulana since before she could walk! More recently she’s been a counselor, carrying on her family’s tradition of serving at Camp Alkulana!