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A Report from an OMA Member Site: Johns River Valley Camp in Collettsville, NC

We are getting some energy around work camps, and expect that to be evident this coming summer. I anticipate a great summer staff, which should support what has become my mantra for the summer: Let’s "Rock ’n Roll” during this last year.

We had an excellent spring Work Day back in March, with 50 volunteers. Woke up on the morning after to find a dusting of snow on the ground. Life is good! I just finished up our Mother’s Retreat, for its 21st year.

I’m also getting reflective at this point. I wrote the following in the course of composing a letter to former campers that will still be Junior age this summer. The prompt for me, that led to those thoughts, was an attempt to speak on their level, via a story that has had meaning for me.

I'm wondering if your parents ever read to you Shel Silverstein's story of The Giving Tree. If not, I'll read it to you this summer at Johns River Valley Camp. Ask me about this classic, and I'll gather with you and your cabin group to share the narrative. It's my story, recalling moments of jumping into piles of leaves, of playing in wooded forests, of climbing trees big and small, of eating tart apples from a backyard tree, of swinging from branches and imagining towering fortresses. It's my story, of seeking happiness among neighbors, cousins, church folk, family, friends, and -- yes -- nations. It's my story of sharing my life with Ms. Curly, and breathing life into three incredible boys. It's my story of living at Johns River Valley Camp, teaching respect for the trees and for the campers, along with your neighbors and mine. It's my story, because I have lived in tension with the trees, and their growth and my life. It's my story because, on the last page, I'm sitting there on a stump. [Sorry, I didn't mean to give away the ending.] It's my story, to help unveil -- in each of you -- a giving story.

Peace and blessings!

C. L. "Curly" Stumb
executive director
Johns River Valley Camp