Coming to camp in 2002 was the first time I ever really felt successful at…well…anything. In middle school my grades were low, I mean really low; I was often in the principle’s office and staying late for detentions and I was struggling socially to boot. Although things improved when I moved to a new high school with some great teachers and mentors that helped my grades come up, making better friends, and having some great experiences running cross-country and track, I still never felt like I really had something unique to offer the world. Something that was special about Tim Holzworth, something I could look at and say “I really love…” or “I am really good at….” I mean I knew in theory that God creates each individual as valuable and needed in this world, but I had a long way to come to see it proved in my daily life. High school helped, but by the time graduation rolled around, I was reeeally desiring a better sense of who I actually was.
One night at school, I was hanging out with a couple of people I really respected. They were all sharing stories about camp, and although I had never been or ever had a desire to go to camp, I suddenly became very excited about the idea. Before long, through a series of awesome events that fell super neatly into place (go God!), I found myself taking a tour of CLC with Hal Jordan shortly after high school graduation in 2002, then quickly applying and being hired by Oscar Ceron to be a cabin counselor.
I think my desire to find something I was really good at and had to offer the world made me want to help others find this too. So my motives for being at camp were so pure! I wanted others to be able to discover themselves because I felt in myself such a strong desire to do the same.
Camp was not easy though, in fact, camp that year was absurdly difficult. During that particular year, the camp was going through a big transition and it was understaffed in all areas. My first two sessions were in Dunwoody with twelve campers and one other staff member to share the duties. My co-counselor and I struggled and were exhausted at the end of everyday. I remember sitting down one evening and drinking a Nalgene and a half one evening in the course of maybe 20 minutes. We were both rookies at our jobs, but man, I loved those campers.
Camp gave me the freedom to be creative and to express all the wacky joy and energy that bursted out of me all through middle and high school but never had the proper channel to unleash it. At CLC there was so much pure, uninhibited love without a trace of judgement, that permeated down from the Director, Oscar, through the whole culture of the camp. To me it felt like it came from a person, but over the years this culture remains and I know it is one of God’s gracious means for helping people recognize who they are as God’s children.
I came out of that summer exhausted, but with a brand new sense of who I was. I built some great relationships through the cabin and had some highly successful Ultimate Frisbee and Mountain Biking classes. I was finally really good at something in my life and knew that I had something valuable to give to the world. I felt successful.
I have been back now for nine consecutive summers and each one has opened new views of God and His creation. None of them have been easy, and I have made mistakes along the way, but every summer has been an incredible journey. In October of this year I began working here year-round and am excited to promote, support, and give my all to the place that has given me and so many others invaluable life lessons and growth.
This Thanksgiving I am grateful for camp, and how God directed me nine summers ago to the place I now call home.
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Wow, sooooo inspiring. Thanks for sharing, Tim.