By: Joy Lester
Written by Guest Blogger, Morgan (Maddox) Blakley
When I consider the impact that Cho-Yeh has had on my life, I realize it has influenced nearly every atom of who I am today. This type of impact is not formulaic, nor is it by chance, but it is one that takes root and leaves you forever changed because it was only ever Christ at work within a little summer camp in East Texas.
It is an impact that reaches far and wide – from meeting many of my closest friends and spouse (all Cho-Yeh alumni) to shaping how I commune with God and look to love my neighbor daily. Who would I be if it were not for Christ meeting me, summer after summer, at Camp Cho-Yeh?
In early 2010, my 18-year-old self, who was incredibly insecure, unqualified, and blindly unaware of who Jesus is, was offered a counselor position by, long-time camper and fellow alumnus, Leslie Casiday. Though I was only in cabin for 5 weeks that summer, I went on to hold other front row seats at Cho-Yeh, such as retreat and summer camp intern, leadership member, program team manager, and full-time staff member. Each position, though different in function and proximity to being in cabin, yielded the same view and result – Jesus Christ uses camp to engage His children and forever change them. Who would I be if it were not for someone like Leslie knowing that I needed camp maybe more than it needed me?
I was never a Camp Cho-Yeh camper, but I was a camper. From 4th grade to my senior year of high school, I had the opportunity to go to camp each summer only because a partial or full scholarship was given to me. My own camper experience was founded upon the generosity of others, and had it not been for many faithful and unnamed donors, year after year, I would not know, trust, and love Jesus as I do today.
The financial contributions of these people not only had an immediate impact on my life, where I had fun, gained friends, and made memories, but they continue to leave a lasting and eternal mark. Who would I be if it were not for God inspiring others to give on my behalf, that I might go to summer camp and know Him all the better?
Friends, your experiences and your contributions matter. Why? Because no one else has held a weepy, homesick camper like you have. No one else has breached the point of exhaustion to continue hard conversations on the cabin porch after Life Song like you have. No one has seen a camper rotate the same three sets of raggedy clothes over the course of a week like you have. No one has celebrated that one camper finally “getting it” like you have. No one has witnessed a camper overcome fears like you have. No one has been in awe of the growth of a camper from one summer to the next like you have. No one has watched a camper move through CLT and Work Crew to becoming a counselor like you have. And because of these things, no one recognizes the power of camp and the ever-growing need for camper scholarships like you do.
Camp matters in the lives of children. While our days of being counselors might be behind us, here lies the perfect avenue in which we can still introduce campers to Christ.
I pray that you might join me in giving to the Legacy 252 scholarship fund, and together we might marvel at how God took a slew of unlikely college students (way back whenever) and grew them into some of the most generous adults who long to build the coming generation.