Kingswood: A Place of Renewal
By Kingswood Camper Lynn Grainger
I discovered the Kingswood community through the Welding Camp in the summer of 2015. As a seasoned educator I’ve discovered the importance of remembering what it is like to learn something new, and I’ve made that part of my practice annually for the past 10 years or so. In each experience I’m reminded of the risk involved in learning as well as the joy. But that summer I gained so much more than the experience of learning something new and a rudimentary understanding of welding. I found a community of Christian people who believe in the restorative experiences in nature and care passionately for each other and the property.
I learned about Kingswood from the annual brochure that comes to our church. I saw the adult camp listings and decided to call Holly to find out more about Welding Camp. All summer I looked forward to that few days away.
From the moment I arrived at the campsite and was greeted so enthusiastically by the managers, I knew I was in a unique community. I followed JoJo up to Hogan and marveled at the beauty of the place. My initial impression of the campsite brought me back to my childhood Girl Scout camp experiences with the platform tent. But when I saw the shelter and the fully equipped site, I better understood the Kingswood camping concept I read about in the brochure.
The weekend was delightful with all the gourmet meals prepared by Peter and Keith. I enjoyed the long walks back and forth from Hogan to the Barn. (I didn’t want my car to bottom out on the rocks as it did on my way in.) I had so much fun, I rented Maples for Labor Day weekend to relax before returning to work.
The following summer I invited my daughter to join me for a few days, and she insisted on bringing her grandfather. So we found a time the Pines was available, so my dad could more easily navigate the site independently. My dad wasn’t here for an hour before we were off looking for a cell phone signal because he wanted my mom to join us. It was such an undertaking to get my dad with limited mobility up into the hay wagon, but being in the deep woods for the first time in years brought him such serenity. At Stone Ministry Peter showed such respect for my dad’s knowledge as we added several stones. When my mom arrived she found joy in her conversations with people at the beach and the campfire, and especially her conversations with Marilyn.
One of my biggest disappointments this past year was not being able to be program director last summer as planned due to my parents’ illnesses. I didn’t get here until The Deep Green Journey in October. As soon as I hit the property a peace I had not experienced in a long time overtook me, and for that weekend I was able to forget my life’s demands as daughter, mother and educator.
In this season of life with big changes, Kingswood will be a place of renewal for me.