#whycampwednesday- Daniel Yeargin

Camp Gravatt has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My first official session was the All Ages of 2010, but Gravatt was important to me long before then as well. My mom has been on year-round staff since 2007, so I lived on site even as a toddler. Naturally, I adored every bit of Gravatt, and still do to this day. I can say with absolute certainty that my life would not be the same without Gravatt.

When you look at camp on its surface, you see a place filled to the brim with activities. There's swimming, archery, canoeing, field games, sports, ropes courses, and so much more. While, of course, there's nothing wrong with them, I don't feel as though the activities provide a fair grasp of what Camp Gravatt gives you. The activities provide you with fun experiences, yes, but I feel as though their most important role is connecting you with people and building bonds as well. The people at Gravatt are what keep me coming back, overall. It's especially great because you can make friends with literally anybody there, if you wish. I have made the best friends with peers, but I have also become good friends with younger campers, older campers, LITs, junior counselors, counselors, and even staff members who aren't directly involved with campers, such as interns or kitchen staff. I believe that the reason this works so exceptionally well is because at Gravatt, there are few limitations to what you can and can't say, and what you can and can't do. You are free to present your true self without much restriction. In other environments, people are forced to put on a sort of “mask.” When at Gravatt, you come to learn that it is an environment where everybody is accepted, no matter your background. Your ethnicity, race, sexuality, gender, social class, ability, education – absolutely none of that matters when you are at Gravatt. People are allowed to come together as people, and I see that as a beautiful thing.

Another reason Gravatt is so important to me is due to how it has shaped me as a person. As I stated, Gravatt provided a place of acceptance for me when the rest of the world wouldn't. However, it also gave me the responsibility of accepting other people for who they are. I found that it wasn't a difficult responsibility to take. As summers came and went, this trait bled into my life outside of camp. I could reach out to people when they might have been struggling for a friend, whether that be due to shyness, cruelness from others, or anything else that may have been plaguing them. I could be a friend to anybody no matter what. Gravatt taught me the lesson of how crucial kindness is, and why acceptance of others is so important. I've also found that Gravatt improves my emotional state, almost purely through nostalgia. Whenever life becomes too much, with stress and anxiety and the whole lot, I can always think back to my experiences at Gravatt. Perhaps I look back to the Dance, where I could enjoyably go around like a fool, or a free swim period, where I could have thought-provoking, entertaining, or just downright silly conversations with my friends, or even the last Shalom Circle, seeing the tears glisten on faces as we sing “Circle of Friends.” This nostalgia fills me up with the most bittersweet feeling, yet also grants me excitement for whatever session edges ever closer.

The reason having camp to look forward to is so important to me is because sometimes life can become too much to bear. Perhaps, as only a middle schooler, I don't have plenty of room to talk, but dealing with day-to-day life can be a struggle. Sometimes all that can be felt is hopelessness, as if you'll forever be in a sort of turmoil. With Gravatt, you're allowed something to hold onto, one thing in a world of hatred and terror and sadness. After only a session, a spark ignites in you that, even months or years after leaving Gravatt, can never fully burn out. That spark takes you and warms you in the cold, provides you the necessities to brave the cold of the world, and hopefully lights the way right back to Camp Gravatt.

Camp Gravatt is my sanctuary, by all means. It allows me a place to be at peace with myself and with others, temporarily freeing me from the problems in the outside world. Not only that, but has molded and continues to mold me into an accepting, outgoing, and hopefully kind individual, qualities which I personally value. Gravatt will forever hold a place in my heart, as it has with so many others. Without this incredible place, my life would be severely different in a negative way.

#whycampwednesday- Lucy Peacock

Out of all of the hundreds of ways Camp Gravatt has influenced my life in my six years of being a camper, not one of them is negative. I have created life long friendships and memories in this happy place of mine. Every single counselor and camper is a continuous joy throughout the entire session. The amazing staff puts you and all of your needs above them and make you feel at home. I look forward to camp every year for a gathering of myself and dozens of new best friends I will meet throughout the week/10 days and reunions with my camp family of years past. You can feel Christ in the air through Footprints and devotions before bed every night. At camp, the staff is the perfect balance of fun loving, crazy and disciplinary. I have realized that I have started to tear up as I write this, because of how much I dearly miss my favorite place and all of the memories associated with it. A few years ago, I decided to not go to camp and attend a musical theatre camp. When I came to camp to pick up my sister, I started crying once we got to the dirt road leading up. In that moment, I realized Gravatt was where I belonged no matter what. I can always find comfort in the place in the woods that has a very very special place in my heart. I have been counting down the days since registration and the 62 days feel like a century. Words cannot describe my love for my favorite place and the people associated with it.


Love with all my heart,
Lucy Peacock

#whycampwednesday- Brooke Gowder

Gravatt is a place in the woods that will find a place in your heart.

That statement sums up Gravatt in just fifteen words, but Gravatt is so much more.  For example the bonds you make, the amazing staff, the perfect meals, and the fun activities.  Something that sticks with me the most from Gravatt is Shalom Circle.

Shalom circle is when the entire camp joins hands right over left, in a circle right in the middle of camp.  While we are in the circle we pray and sing.  One of the songs we sing is Shalom Haverim.  At the end of this song we all turn around and head to our cabins, ending another day at Gravatt.  

Shalom circle is a place of peace and quiet and is a huge Gravatt tradition.

On the last night of camp we all join together one last time in a huge circle for Shalom.  This Shalom is different though. 

In this Shalom circle we sing a few songs, then three fires come from separate areas of camp – the boy’s side, girl’s side, and dining hall.  At this time almost everyone starts to get teary eyed.  Once the lights meet in the middle of the circle to form a perpetual light, we sing Shalom Haverim one last time.  And now everyone is crying.

This part of the camp is the most memorable to me because everyone boy or girl, short or tall, comes together.  It is a feeling you just can’t describe.

Gravatt is a place in the woods that will find a place in your heart.

These fifteen words mean something completely different after you have had the Gravatt experience.

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