Welcome to Part 2 of the “Blogging with Bernie” series! Did you miss Part 1? Check it out!
By: Bernadette Diodati
Community is everything to me. It is the reason I chose to attend the University of Dallas for college. When you are surrounded by individuals who lift you up and who make you feel at home, you have the support you need to flourish and grow, even in difficult times. Being a part of the staff here at Camp Gray has shown me that I can find that sense of family in a new place in a short amount of time.
It is surreal to think about how each one of us ended up here at this exact moment – how God had planned for this all along. All it took was saying “yes” and being open to His plan. Meredith came all the way from California, while Catie joined us from Kansas. Paul, a longtime friend of Camp Gray, discovered there was a need and wished to help, while Katie, a native of Stoughton, had been waiting for this opportunity for a long time.
When we first arrived at the end of August, we went through two weeks of missionary training, which really enabled us to bond. My favorite memories from that time are of us successfully completing several team building activities by working together. Additionally, we spent evenings eating dinner at the homes of the Hoeben’s, the Sanborn’s, Clair, Haley, and Topher. I did not anticipate how welcome I would feel at the Gray… everyone is so inviting and inclusive.
Now we are several months in, and I am amazed by how much we have all grown. Our fearless leader Clair has skillfully prepared us for the numerous retreats we have led (more than 1,500 young people have joined us at Camp Gray so far!), while at the same time, she’s been a compassionate and understanding mentor. We pray Morning Prayer and help each other strive for holiness each and every day, and we anticipate one another’s needs and know each other’s strengths and weaknesses… oh, and we have tons of fun!
Recently a snowball fight broke out while we were outside shoveling snow. Topher and the Hoeben kids came outside and chaos ensued… in the absolute best way. Making snow angels, hiding behind trees to avoid being hit by snowballs, and laughing all the while is a recipe for a good day. The fact that I got to experience it with my friends here at Camp made it that much more meaningful. Other fond memories I have are those times at the end of a long retreat day, when we hang out together chatting about the day. Sometimes in our exhaustion from serving all day, we’ll goofily break into song and dance. We also have regular game nights, we go on adventures away from camp, and most importantly, we take part in daily community prayer.
I am incredibly blessed to be a part of this year’s Servant Leadership Team!
Are you interested in serving on Camp’s 2017-2018 Servant Leadership Team? Learn more here!