SMC is a replenisher to me. When my faith is weary and the spark is dying, camp ignites my faith and it explodes like a firework. Camp is my safe place amongst all the cruelties of my life and the world. It’s a place where long-lasting friendships begin, and love wins. Where you’re genuinely and purely loved and accepted. You’re taken in as you are. Broken, angry, confused, rebellious, scared. You are treated like you’ve been there your whole life. SMC isn’t just a camp, it’s a home. A place to grow in God and as a person. At SMC, God transforms you in ways you’d never guess.
Silver Maple Camp has meant so much to me, from the counselors to the activities to the friends made. Silver Maple Camp has been one of the best experiences for me. Not only are the people amazing, but the food is also amazing. SMC has so much to offer.
When I sit and ponder upon the question, “What does Silver Maple Camp mean to me?” so many words rush through my mind– fun, happiness, authenticity, Jesus, friends, singing, dancing, peace… but there is only one word that comes to mind that truly captures what SMC really is– love. Now, I realize that this may sound like an overused, cliché way of expressing one’s feelings towards something, but “love” is not a term I throw around loosely. I also acknowledge the fact that my answer does not necessarily make grammatical sense from an English professor’s point of view, but if Shakespeare were here, he would know exactly what I am meaning. Last summer, I was a first time camper at Silver Maple. I accidently happened upon the website of SMC, and when I did, I felt a strong tug on my heart to register for a session. I knew that that tug was the work of God, so I signed up not knowing the vast impact that was about to be made on my life. I honestly had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had no idea that I would walk out of Silver Maple after only a week with new friends, new learned lessons, and most importantly, I did not know that I would leave Silver Maple with a new life. SMC offered me the kind of love that I don’t typically receive elsewhere. It is a place where I can be exactly who I am. I don’t have to wear a mask; I don’t have to try to be perfect and cover up old scars. I can open up and tell my story and not be afraid of what others might say knowing that I am going to be understood and enveloped in hugs. I can just be me. Why? Because the people at Silver Maple love me just the way I am. Kids who were once strangers turned into friends, who turned into family. I love my SMC family, and they love me. While at Silver Maple, I learned some valuable lessons that I will forever hold close to my heart. Throughout the duration of the week, I was able to really dive into the stories of Jesus, the man who showed us what love really is. “Love” is written roughly about 551 times in the Bible. If God wanted love written that many times, it has to be important. I connected with Jesus so much while at Silver Maple, allowing my faith to grow even stronger. I learned about God’s love for me, and how He demonstrates His love constantly. Bruce taught me how to love and honor my God by following His commandments and living a Christian life. Miles taught me how to love my opponents, even when they beat in a basketball game. Josh taught me how to love that life that I am given, even when I am faced with adversity. Because of Silver Maple, I learned what love really meant. The friends I had made and the lessons that I had learned while at Silver Maple had moved my heart so much that I decided I wanted to be baptized. I was baptized in the lake at SMC by Warren Baldwin, who is now one of my biggest mentors. That moment truly changed my life forever. I was made new in Christ. I finally had discovered who I really am in that moment– a girl who loves Jesus Christ beyond compare despite her flaws and shortcomings. I had never felt more love and acceptance than when I was welcomed and congratulated by my fellow campers after my baptism. Tears streamed down my face as I witnessed firsthand a glimpse of the vast love God has for each of us. I started a new life at Silver Maple, and it all started because of love. This upcoming summer will be my last summer as a camper at SMC, and though it will be a bittersweet week being my last, I cannot wait to get back to the place I love with the friends I love to learn more about the God I love.
Love this camp so much my son went this year…so inspiring and lovely plus with amazing people THANK U FOR THIS BEAUTIFUL CAMP
My kids have been going ever since they were small. SMC is like having an extended family! Kids all know everybody & they miss them. They get to connect with them, learn from peers and counselors that they know that want the best for them. They know they can be themselves & not have to prove them self to anybody, else except for God!! It’s an excellent camp!! The surroundings are beautiful. All of my kids never want to leave & are always happy to return to the welcoming atmosphere.. All have made great memories & connections throughout Kansas & many other states.
Tina Sue Keyes