Many of you know Hatu. She was a first-time camper back when I was a counselor. She grew up coming to summer camp each year until she herself became a camp counselor and was tragically named Hatu after her older sister. Yes, Hatu is Utah backwards.
Most counselors grow up and move on and Hatu did as well. But then she came back, first as a counselor when we desperately needed one, and then as our marvelous facebook and photography expert. I asked Hatu to share a bit about what camp means to her, why she gives of her valuable time to remain involved with a simple, backwoods Bible camp.
Hatu told me about her years as a camper. She remembers having Princess, Rapunzel, and Blossom as her counselors and many long weeks of intense fun. “Every year I would go home and all my clothes would smell like ‘camp smell’ and I refused to let my parents wash them because I didn’t want to lose the ‘camp small'” We discussed it and decided that camp smell is equal parts campfire smoke, dust, and pungent weeds. Which doesn’t sound all that enchanting until you pair it with a week of precious memories. One year her dad forgot to register her for camp. Hatu remembers the horrible bout of weeping that she (and he) endured while she waited for him to call Scruffy to try to get her in at the last minute. Of course he let her come, it was Scruffy after all.
When talking about her years as a counselor, Hatu mostly recalled the bond that you form with other Christians your age. How they grew up into adults together. How they walked through the fire together, had to rely on each other, built a team together that cried and laughed and bled as one. “Obviously I’m still friends with the people I counseled with even though they haven’t counseled for a decade.”
But why did she come back, even though her years as a camper and counselor had come and gone?
“There is a real sense of family here, more than any other place. I’ve been moving around a lot, a new home every year, but Camas was a constant, you always know someone, there is the same feel, even when the people change.
I like the ministry here in that it is relational based and not just about numbers or all the cool things we can do. It’s about building true lasting relationships.”
Scruffy tried to give her gas money once for driving all the way from the west side to take photos of camp. But Hatu explained what volunteering up at camp means to her and why she refused.
“I feel like I’m getting away with something, being able to come up here and be involved. I get to do something I love. I feel almost like I owe, not that I am owed.”
Hatu has done so much for camp over the years, especially these last few. She has worked behind the scenes, starting the camp facebook page and providing pictures of the campers, counselors, and speakers each week. She makes the wonderful speaker biographies and films the cabin skits for us to enjoy. Parents can see their children enjoying camp during the week because Hatu drives over the mountains after work and takes the time to document each week of camp.
Thank you for all that you have done and all that you continue to do. Thank you for directing your many talents and gifts across Blewitt Pass and up a small gravel road to a rustic Bible Camp in the woods.