“We were told that camp ‘would literally change our lives’ and that it was the best experience we would ever have.”
Two summers, 16 Mega Relays, and countless costumes later, twins Madison and Marissa are in the midst of applying for their third Summer Of A Lifetime — and in case you’re wondering, camp LITERALLY changed their lives. So much so, in fact, that they changed their study abroad plans to make sure that they would be able to experience a second summer of camp.
- Names: Madison and Marissa Jackson
- Camp Names: Pazookie and Minnie
- University: UNC Chapel Hill
- Major: Human Development and Family Studies
- Favorite camp song: THE THEME SONG
- Favorite dance move: POINT CRISS CROSS SWEEP THE FLOOR UNDER OVER AHHHH
- Favorite nite life: ULTIMATE REC
But how far did camp ACTUALLY take them from the Enchanted Valley (home of WSC for Girls at Young Harris)?
10,084 miles away to Singapore.
Yes, you read that right. Singapore.
With plans to work a second summer at WinShape Camps for Girls at Young Harris as Club Leaders for the Royalum and Scocean clubs, Madison and Marissa (better known as Pazookie and Minnie at Young Harris) completely changed the course of their study abroad plans to make sure the program they chose would allow them to be back in the U.S. in time for summer 2017.
Why make such a drastic change from their original plans of European adventure?
Because for Madison and Marissa, camp is home.
“The Enchanted Valley feels like home because that is where we fell in love with Winshape Camps,” they explained. “It is a place where staff and campers alike can get away from the expectations created of the world and embrace who God made each and every one of us to be, while covered in face paint and dressed in wacky costumes. It is a place where we can laugh, cry, celebrate, struggle, and serve together in a way that is life-giving and kingdom building.”
This concept of finding a home in WSC is one that countless campers and staffers alike experience summer after. The twins explain that this feeling is impossible to escape because camp “is a picture of what the Lord wants Christian community to look like, which is why it feels so much like home.”
For the twins, camp isn’t just a summer job. Camp is a reflection of what Christ desires for his church to look like (even if it does involve a little bit of whip and nae-naeing.)
“Camp has been a place of community, a place of learning and growth in our individual relationships with Jesus as well as growth and confidence in who we are as individuals. It has been a place to wear cow costumes and face paint every single day — a place to act as crazy and sing as many camp songs as we want. It is a place to be bakers and actresses and artists and scientists. A place where campers come alive and feel loved and accepted. It is a place to be used as the hands and feet of Jesus and a place to see campers realize for the first time the reality of the gospel and what it means for them. Camp is a place where chains are broken, hearts are restored.”
Madison and Marissa have seen lives changed and stories be written through the power of Jesus at work in even the smallest interactions at camp.
“It is impossible NOT to see the Lord visibly working while at camp and we have both had genuine experiences of the Lord working in our lives from camp that have defined who we are and our relationship with the Lord today.”
Through their experiences at camp, Madison and Marissa have found their true purpose — apart from their major in or desired career path — to serve God in all that they do.
“No matter where we may be or what we may be doing, as long as it is for Jesus’ glory, we are doing exactly what He has called us to do.”
Lucky for us in the WinShape Nation, no matter where the Lord leads the twins, we know they will always find their way back home.
“Young Harris is home because it is a beautiful glimpse of our eternal home we will one day live.”