Hi, my name’s Raelee Vanasselt, I’m 16, I’m from Kitchener and I’ve been a camper at Mishewah for 8 years now.
When I would hear about it during church every year, ever since I was like 5 I knew I wanted to go, at least try it out. That first year when I was 8 years old, I got on the bus and nearly cried when I saw my mom out the window, but any fear or regret disappeared when I got to camp. There was so much to do, so many great people on staff and counselling and it was just such an amazing space. After that first time I guess Steve and Jeanette just couldn’t get rid of me, so here I am talking to all of you now.
Being at the kids camps was so much fun for me that I jumped at the chance to counsel. Last year was my first time counselling and it was one of the best experiences of my life. It wasn’t all easy but I learned so much and got a sense of how attached you can get to a few complete strangers, and how they can become like family during the week. This summer I came back to counsel again and if possible had an even better time that the first. I was reunited with a few friends from the year before and was able to make some really strong bonds and get to know more people on a much deeper level. My first week this year was great, I got to live with a cabin of 5 great young girls and a co-counsellor from Newfoundland, which was so much fun. Despite how great my first week was, my second was even better than that. With a group of older girls, I was able to ask and be asked a couple of really great questions. Nothing beats sitting at a picnic table with a 12 year old asking how Jesus could have been 100% God and 100% man. Unfortunately, 12 year old girls only ever tend to be quiet during cabin devotions, so you also learn to be creative. My number one highlight this year happened in devos though: on Thursday during the morning chapel, the speaker invited everyone to participate in a sort of repeat-after-me prayer asking Jesus into your life. During devos right after, I had given the girls a piece of paper to ask any questions, because I found just waiting for verbal questions didn’t go too well. I suggested that if they had said the prayer during chapel, they could write that down too, so I gave them a few minutes and then collected the papers and went off to get ready for the game that we were already late for. I didn’t actually get a chance to read what they had written until after lunch, but when I did I was at a complete loss for words. One after the other had some form of “I said the prayer” written on it. Each one of my 5 girls had made a commitment to follow Christ, and I had never experienced anything like the feeling I got. It made any struggle, late night of not sleeping or 3 am bathroom run absolutely worth it, to know that this camp is making such a difference in the lives of the kids who end up going.
Time spent up at Mish has been some of the most impactful while establishing my faith, and counselling was no different. These are just a few of the stories I have to share, and each counsellor that gives their time up there has different, personal and amazing stories of their own. It’s such a special place up there and I’m really thankful for all of the staff and everyone that works or volunteers at Mish because they really are a big camp family. So thanks for letting be share a bit of my experience up at camp.
~ Raelee Vanasselt