When I first attended Camp Wakonda as a tween camper, it was my first time going to a camp for a week. I remember all of the emotions running through my mind — excited, scared and nervous, all at the same time, for what the week would hold. My fears soon disappeared as the week progressed because I made so many friends that are still friends to this very day.
The activities were a blast, especially banana boating and horseback riding! Fun in the sun was also one of the highlights of my week. I had an awesome counselor who made the week even better. I remember at night time, when all of us campers were in bed, she would go around to each bed and pray with us — that was my favorite part of the day.
The first time I had a real experience with Jesus was the Friday night play when Jesus was crucified. Seeing Him being persecuted and nailed to that cross made me sad and made me think of how my own sins put Him there. As the night continued, our pastor for the week told us that Jesus’ dying wasn’t the end; if we wanted that free gift of eternal life, all we had to do was accept it. Soon after that, cards were passed around to all of us campers. One of the questions asked if we wanted to take Bible studies and be baptized. I knew right then and there that I wanted to learn more about Jesus and eventually be baptized.
Every summer after that, I kept going back to camp. It was what I looked forward to all year. God’s love and that family atmosphere that I experienced there was magnetic and drew me back. I knew when I was old enough, I wanted to work at camp.
My second summer working at Camp Wakonda, I became a Girls’ counselor, one of the hardest, but most rewarding jobs. The last four summers working at camp, I have seen kids’ lives transformed in such powerful ways. I watched them get closer to God, form lasting friendships, and make decisions to be baptized.
I also have grown as a person and have learned to lean on God more. I am so grateful that God is in charge and it is He who does this work. That makes me confident that, no matter what happens, God will continue to do His work this summer at Camp Wakonda and all of the other camps around the Lake Union.
Alona Jackson, Camp Wakonda Girls’ Director