Splashing Back Into Summer At Spirit in the Pines

Splashing Back Into Summer At Spirit in the Pines

This June will be the first time I will be back working at Spirit in the Pines as part of the program staff since I was in college (2016). Before I was on staff, I was a counselor, and I was a camper. I believe with all my heart that Spirit in the Pines has the chance to change lives and help kids connect with God, themselves, and their friends.

Spirit in the Pines has helped me become who I am today and continues to help me with my faith every day. It would be nice to say that I loved camp from the first time I got off the bus. Honestly, I never wanted to go to Spirit in the Pines. I have a stubborn/loving Mom who thought that camp would be good for her son.

Being an elementary school kid, I thought she was sending me up as punishment the first time I went. I was so nervous the whole time I was up there; I really did not have much fun. You would think that would stop my mom, wrong again. My mom continued to send me up there every year. Every year, I noticed I was having a little more fun.

Each campfire, game, devotion, and new friend filled my heart. It started to become the highlight of my summer, and as a counselor, it became the only thing I did during the summer. Somehow, they let me be a counselor for 11 weeks of the 12 weeks of camp one summer. When I was on the program staff, I got to help kids find their connection with God. I still hold some of these memories tightly.

I also found some old photos of my time at camp and some from when Spirit in the Pines first started (you have to check them out)! This summer, I am Splashing into Camp again. I am ready to help our kids make connections and build themselves up. Spirit in the Pines provides a unique opportunity for kids to learn from other kids.

I understand that coming to camp for the first time or the fifth time can fill kids with anxiety. When I was young, I got pushed out of my comfort zone, and I can’t thank my mom enough for sending me to camp every year. Camp is why I am passionate about helping my church community here in Eden Prairie. My grandma always reminded me about how blessed we are as a family.

Working here at St. Andrew for the last four months, it’s now a little easier to see how blessed I was as a kid. God gives us each the chance to “Splash” into anything we want this summer. I am blessed I get to do it up at Pleasant Lake.

Caleb Wragge

Youth Engagement Director