I don’t think I’ve fully processed my departure from camp just yet but as I wind down on the last couple of days of my time at Huawni I am reminded of the gift that the last sixteen summers has been. Pegging one person or one specific instance during my summers at Camp is not possible in my personal opinion. I think each person and situation that’s influenced my time at camp was perfectly timed and intricately designed. The way each summer played out was necessary for my growth and maturity in that specific season of life.
I’m most thankful for the “fall on the floor, can’t breathe because I’m laughing so hard” moments and the hard, “why am I doing this again?” moments. I needed those. I’m thankful for the way each Summer was so different yet so familiar. I walked into each Summer knowing a little bit more about myself, how I operate and how to filter that based on the people around me. I failed a lot, triumphed a lot and cried a lot of happy and sad tears. I’m thankful that my parents prioritized my need for Huawni Summer after Summer because it continued to breed confidence and self-assurance in who I was and I came back each year with a new outlook or perspective on things. I’m thankful for the grace that was extended to me by my Campers, Co-Counselors, Directors and fellow staffers…especially when I was completely undeserving. A genuine squad of young people who celebrate the high’s and comfort during the lows. I’m thankful for the parents of our campers who treated me like one of their own and empowered me to do my job and take care of their kids. Something I know cannot be easy.
I could continue to write a book of “I’m thankful for”’s about Huawni and the people that continue to pour every ounce of energy they have into this place. Come as you are. Grace extended. Love despite circumstance. Valley’s and mountaintops. Fully known. Failure welcome. All things I know to be true about Huawni and all things I know they’ll continue to live out for the next fifty Summers.
Love & Inwauh,
TJ is a veteran at making Camp a safe and fun second home for kids. He and Amanda have specialized in youth camping for over 20 years and love the slower pace that is Huawni. TJ has extensive experience as former director of the Institute of Wildness Studies; he is a registered falconer through the North American Falconry Association and an Aquatic Animal Life Support Operator. TJ and Amanda lead camp with their three children: Jace, Adley and Crew. TJ and Amanda have deep roots right here in East Texas too; they grew up in Palestine and Nacogdoches. TJ and Amanda want you to know that your child matters and also that your child knows they matter.