This coming summer is a milestone in my camp career, being 10 years since I started spending my summers in leadership at Shekinah Retreat Centre’s summer camp. There are a lot of memories here, and a lot of these revolve around a circle of loving women who have guided and supported me over the past 10 years. The transition of Shekinah’s executive director over the past few months has been one that has sparked thoughts of emotional strength over my time at Shekinah.
A memory from one particular afternoon has stayed with me. It was my first summer as a counsellor-in-training, and after leading an activity I wasn’t very confident in, I was feeling particularly defeated. Standing in the washroom trying to wash all the stress, sweat and tears off my face, our director came in singing joyfully. She took one look at me and said, “Katie, I just love how positive you are all the time. It’s so wonderful to have you here.” It took me a long time to understand how she could have possibly seen a positive person in that moment.
Over the past few years, Kristy Letkeman has been one women that I’ve looked up to. She was my camp director for two years when I was counselling, then my executive director as I transitioned into camp directing. While it was sad to say goodbye on her last day of work, I never doubted that this friendship, like others I’ve made at Shekinah, will continue to extend beyond camp.
While Kristy and I shared a cup of tea recently, I began to feel connected again. Not just to her, but to all the memories and support that camp has given me in this way over the years. It is truly a remarkable place to stand and see: to look back at the memories and be present with the love and strength that is here now.
Katie Wiebe is summer camp program director at the Shekinah Retreat Centre, Waldheim, Sask.
For other stories in our Focus on Camping series, see: