Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Camp CommUNITY Reflection - Kayne Burk

Kayne Burk—1997

When I typed out the date I attended Camp CommUNITY, I had to take a moment to recover. It was almost 13 years ago, but looking back over the years only a handful of memories so clearly stand out. Camp CommUNITY resides on a short list of life-changing experiences of my youth. And the things that didn't make that short list? The mission trips and church camps, ski trips and summer classes, debate camp and future business leaders of America retreats... that stuff somehow just blends together into one amalgamated memory of the past.

I can tell you why Camp CommUNITY gets the clarity while almost everything else--so many amazing experiences at the time--gets relegated to nonspecific obscurity. You might guess it stems from the fact that you only get one shot at Camp CommUNITY, but that isn't it at all.  There were a lot of things I did just one time that I don't remember. No, the truth about this camp is simple: Camp CommUNITY changed me. Or, more accurately, the people that I met and the experiences that I had changed me. They compelled me to grow as a person in order to respond.

My life in Arlington was simple and pleasant. I had friends, church, school, the Parks mall, several movie theaters, Six Flags, Hurricane Harbor, and the Ballpark. There was nothing to question. And so I never learned to question. And that's dangerous. Because if we don't question we can't grow or understand new things, and we certainly won't want to change anything. Camp CommUNITY taught me to question.

It began with questions that stemmed directly from my experiences at camp. Questions about race and religion and values kept me awake at night. As I gradually worked through those topics in my mind, I stumbled upon new questions. Over time, I have mostly stumbled forward. I have occasionally rattled cages and made others uncomfortable. Overall, I would describe the outcome as astoundingly positive.

I don't believe that detailing my Camp CommUNITY experience to a future camper will provide you with much value; yours will differ substantially, and you may walk away with something completely different. But I would be willing to bet that in some way you too will be positively changed. I'd also wager that 13 years from today won't feel like 13 years ago, should you choose to talk about it then.



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