The following is a guest post from former WinShape Camps for Girls Director, Trudy Cathy White. We’re excited to share about the release of her latest book, A Quiet Strength, available March 10th, 2020.
You might be familiar with the story of my parents’ first walk through Mountain Campus at Berry College. My mother, Jeannette Cathy, memorably referred to the future site of WinShape Camps as “holy ground.” When I think about the thousands of campers who have ridden down stretch road, shouted “BO BO” at the top of their lungs, or made the life-changing decision to follow Jesus, I’m speechless. In awe! What an investment WinShape Camps is having in the lives of so many young people. Surely camp is holy ground.
When my dad, S. Truett Cathy, launched WinShape Camps for Boys in 1985 and later – at the encouragement of my mother – WinShape Camps for Girls in 1987, they were already familiar with summer camp ministry. Camp had an incredible, life-long impact in the lives of my brothers, Dan & Bubba, and me. If you’re a parent struggling with the idea of sending your child to two-week overnight camp, you may be shocked to learn Mom and Dad dropped us off for five whole weeks each summer – and we loved it!
I’m not sure my parents realized then that the long car-rides to North Carolina, sacrifices to pay for camp, and weeks separated from their children were investments. I’m not sure they realized camp would instill in me a quiet confidence of my own independence and a strong desire of dependency in Jesus. But I do know they wanted other children to have the same opportunity to experience camp like I did.
Those first few years after the launch of WinShape Camps, my parents provided countless opportunities for children to attend camp. Mother especially! She kept an army-supply stock of sheets and towels at home – campers’ names handwritten on the tags – to ensure no child arrived to camp unprepared. This is how my brothers and I found ourselves years later, in our childhood home, using “Sara’s” sheets or “Drew’s” towel.
It was natural then, after two decades in international missions when I was offered the position as Director of WinShape Camps for Girls, that mother would help me prepare for camp. Not with sheets and towels, but with the assurance, “you can…with God!” You see, I wasn’t looking to be a camp director, nor did I feel equipped in my own abilities to lead hundreds of staff and campers. But Mom’s dependence on the Lord reminded me of the truth found in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Throughout my 13 years as Director of WinShape Camps for Girls, I often leaned into my own childhood camp experience for inspiration. Camp was where the Lord laid a spiritual foundation in my heart as a child. Camp was where I began to realize who I am and Whose I am – not Trudy, the daughter, sister, wife, director, etc. – but Trudy, a child of the King.
WinShape Camps has provided this same opportunity to thousands of children across the United States, glorifying God “by creating experiences that transform campers and families with the message of Jesus Christ!” If you’ve made the decision to send your child(ren) to camp this summer, I want to applaud you for your investment in their lives. You have no idea the impact time at camp will have on the trajectory of a young person. The deposit my parents made in providing Dan, Bubba, and me the opportunity to attend summer camp has immeasurably enriched our lives.
To read more stories of my mom and our family, check-out my newest book A Quiet Strength: The Life and Legacy of Jeannette M. Cathy on March 10th.