Logo Jill Steenhuis

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A Letter from Camp Desoto

Dear Friends,

I’m at Camp Desoto and I wish you were here. Camp is just as much fun as I remember it. Phil and Marsha have pulled out all the stops to make our painting retreat one to remember. And boy will we remember it! Each meal we eat together at a long table in the dining hall, singing the same camp blessings that we all know from childhood. The gym has transformed into our art studio – it’s still the heartbeat of camp life that it always was. But on Saturday night it was a world class performance hall – with the surprise Night Activity of a chamber music concert by Peter deVries and Paul Nitsch.

Friends, you would not believe the talented artists that I have spent the weekend with. And no, I don’t just mean expert painters with years of experience. I mean the artists who ventured forth to paint this weekend for the first time in their lives. They faced the blank canvas with determination and allowed their inner poetry to spill out in all its colorful glory.

I feel rejuvenated by this weekend at camp – singing the camp songs that make my roots tingle, greeting the day at morning watch, and sleeping to the serenade of popping acorns at night. I have not changed much since camp days, where my foundation was built on solid rock. Returning to the sacred garden of my childhood, my sensations brought forth the beginnings of who I am and I was allowed to revisit that place.

Those who did not have Camp Desoto already in their blood were surprised when they arrived. “Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth…” (Isaiah 58:14) Truly we were made to ride upon one of the high places of the earth, Camp Desoto on Lookout Mountain.

Love,
Jill