Sunday, January 15, 2006

I've got the kleenex handy

Click the button to visit "Camp Kawkawa Rembered"

Um, so this is my fourth post today. Sorry gang, it's been a really eventful Sunday for me, not to mention the rest of the weekend. Yikes.

I guess life goes in a cycle of highs and lows. This low hit me pretty hard today. I'm still not convinced I can get through typing this without tears. I've already had a few crying sessions this afternoon and evening.

Just after I got home today, I was in a fantabulous mood (scroll down to find out why). Then my mom called me to tell me about an announcement she saw in the bulletin this morning at their church: "Due to geological concerns, Camp Kawkawa will be closing down at the end of January. " The camp is built on the side of a mountain, and after having a geological survey done, they found that there was too great of a risk of landslides. In order to continue operating, every guest would have to sign a waiver to stay there. That's simply too damaging. Nobody would come. So Camp Kawkawa is closing. Forever.

I felt like I had been punched in the gut.

Camp Kawkawa is a Christian kids camp up in Hope that has been a huge part of my life since I was little. My Nana and Papa first sent me there when I was eight years old, and I spent at least a week (sometimes eight or nine weeks) there every summer for the next sixteen years. It's been two and a half years since I last worked there, but I've gone up to visit and to volunteer for a weekend here and there, and have been up the most recently for a church retreat last May.

It is my favourite place in the whole wide world. Not only is it an incredibly beautiful spot, but the experiences I have had there have shaped so much of who I am today, particularily in regards to my faith. I have grown and learned SO much there. I simply can't put into words how much I love that place. I've said before that as soon as I arrive on the property, I feel as if my soul can relax. It is a refuge for me, a sacred place.

I know of course that even though the buildings will be gone (uh, oh, here come the tears), the effect it's had on me and on thousands of other people can never be taken away. What God has done through that ministry will last even beyond this life. I take comfort in that, but I can't bear the tought of never again being able to huff it up that killer hill to the girls chalets, play a game of beach volleyball with 50 kids, watch a skit night in the dining hall, pray for my cabin of girls in the staff lounge, teach a kid how to shoot an arrow or paddle a kayak, and see kids come to a deeper understanding of God as they go about the activities of the week.

They are hoping to relocate at some point, but it will never be Kawkawa again.

There will be a final Open House Farewell on Saturday January 21 from 2pm-6pm. I'll be going (camera and kleenex - lots and lots of kleenex - in tow). If you'd like to come, let me know.

In the meantime, if you're interested, here are a few links to Kawkawa if you'd like to see a little bit of the place that is so dear to me:

Camp Photos --- Camp Video (it's a large file, it may take a while to load) --- 360 degree interactive tour --- Open House invitation --- Why Kawkawa is closing it's doors --- Some thoughts after the retreat in May


Dustin said...

dont apoligize
it keeps me entertained

Paul said...

Wow, that's tough.

happyandblue2 said...

That is too bad. Take lots of pictures and enjoy the farwell. Even with the kleenex part..

Dawn said...

The photo's are beautiful. Never went to camp as a child, but I was a counselor for 3 years and the memories you have will be forever. Treasure them in your heart.

AfricaBleu said...

I'm so sorry. My parents are in thr process of selling my childhood home in Kenya, and I can't think about it without wanting to throw-up.

Why can't things stay the same?

I'm glad you had all those good memories, anyway.

sarah cool said...

Hilary - thanks for "buying" my blog this week! I've really enjoyed reading your blog the past couple of weeks! :)