By: Tina Bryson
ENDICOTT, Ky. — Bistro lights glowed dimly above as Camp Shawnee counselors gathered for devotions at the end of a long day pouring into the lives of children. Danielle Rose sat on a couch strumming softly on her guitar while the light banter filled the room – banter borne from friendships forged in the Appalachian Mountains, held together by love and a common purpose.
“This summer, I have been impacted by the realization that Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) will be a part of my life forever,” said Rose, who has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Emmanuel College in Boston. “CAP has always been special to me, but that sense of home felt even stronger this year. I am constantly amazed by the dedication of volunteers and staff, both new and returning, and the meaningful relationships that we build both with each other and with the campers. It’s like nothing I have ever experienced!”
Rose, a camp counselor at Camp Shawnee since 2015, completed a third year of service with CAP this summer. She started out her year in Europe, but contacted Pat Griffith to get the dates for camp to ensure that she would be back in Eastern Kentucky. She had missed being at camp the previous year and was determined not to miss it again.
“Danielle puts her heart and soul in everything she does at camp,” Griffith said. “She’s there for all the right reasons and she’s truly a Godsend. The children absolutely adore her as do the other counselors and staff. When she’s at camp things are always better. Danielle is the type of counselor you pray will contact you that is wanting to spend time at camp during the summer.”
“One of my fondest memories happened during my second summer at Camp Shawnee,” Rose said. “It was during our 6-8-year-old week. I had a camper who always got homesick at bedtime, and on the first night, we started a routine of my sitting next to her bunk and holding her hand until she fell asleep. That memory has stuck with me, because I remember being in awe that she could express that amount of trust after only knowing me for one day.”
This summer 544 campers spent one week at Camp Shawnee’s overnight camp. Volunteer counselors come from across the nation to serve during the six weeks of camp season. Another 14 junior counselors assisted. Junior counselors are former campers who now came back to help as a place that they hold dear.
“Volunteering with CAP has been one of the best decisions I have ever made,” Rose said. “It is inevitable to be strongly impacted by volunteering with CAP- you will see yourself differently, and see others differently, in the best ways possible. Being able to see our campers simply have fun and enjoy being a kid in such a safe, loving environment is one of the greatest blessings.”
For more information about opportunities to volunteer at Camp Shawnee, visit chrisapp.org.