Finding a Home at Camp: Xaden’s Story
By: Riley Dunson
As 6th year camper, when Xaden stepped back onto Cho-Yeh soil this summer, excitement and comfort washed over him. He was home. Camp Cho-Yeh has been a very special place to Xaden over the years, simply because it has provided a sense of consistency into his life.
“Just the experience keeps me coming back to camp every year,” he says. “The counselor combos just get better and better. At home, it’s harder to feel close to God. But everytime I come to camp it gets me closer to God. It’s just really fun.”
For most kids, having the summer come to an end means they get to continue into the school year with all of the memories made with hometown friends. However, Xaden gets a different experience each year. During the summer, he stays in New Orleans, Louisiana, and during the school year, he stays in Houston, Texas. While he enjoys his time in both places, moving back and forth has made it difficult to maintain close friendships.
“Moving around so much really affected my life,” he shares. “Usually people go to school with the same people from elementary school to high school. They get to grow up with their friends, and they have had those friends since kindergarten. But with me, I wasn’t able to stay in touch with them, so it’s been hard to have lasting friendships.”
Camp has been a source of encouragement for Xaden not only spiritually, but in his friendships as well. During his 6th summer at Cho-Yeh, he reflected back to his first summer and shared how much coming to camp has meant to him.
“Now, looking back, Camp has helped. I always come the same week. I get to see the same faces, and spend time with the same people. It makes up for the time I didn’t get to have with my elementary school,” he says. “My first year of camp, I thought I was just coming to have fun. I think it was the third Bible study that I really started to get it. As I’ve gotten older, I keep coming back each year to get closer to God.”
Xaden has not taken his time at Camp Cho-Yeh for granted. He enjoys all of the meaningful relationships he has made with fellow campers and staff members. Even if the future holds more moves from place to place, Xaden knows that he will always have a home at camp.
“I am appreciated here. Everytime I see a camper or counselor or super that was here last year, they remember me. It makes me feel very welcomed. Out of all these kids they remember me. It is such an amazing environment.”