There and Back Again: Agnes Hyma’s Camp Story
When asked to write a blog for the alumni page I immediately said yes; but now that it’s time to put pen to paper, I’m not sure where to begin. I can barely remember when Camp was not a very important part of my life. I was a teenager when the property was purchased and I remember thinking on my first visit to camp what a special place this was.
My next vivid memory and milestone was when Center Hall was built. There was going to be a dedication of the building and help was needed to get the building cleaned. Our St. Catharines youth group went to help and I was part of a team that cleaned all of the original windows of Center Hall, after we had removed all of those lovely stickers. That was no small feat! Those first windows served us well and I certainly think back very fondly on that time.
I can’t remember my exact age, but I was either 20 or 21 when I was asked to join the camp board for the first time. I was taken aback at first, as I would join one other woman already on the board, to have a voice on a largely male board. I think it took them a little while to fully accept me, as they were just not sure what to do with this young single woman. I was on the board for about 10 years at that point, because back then we didn’t yet have official term of service.
Camp has experienced significant growth in the years with both the expansion and the addition of new buildings and programs that were offered. We went from entirely volunteer staff, to a paid summer program director and weekly volunteers serving as counselors and working in the kitchen, to where we are now: a permanent staff of six amazing individuals and a paid summer staff of nearly twenty individuals. God has blessed this ministry at camp so richly over the years. The ministry at camp has impacted so many lives and I remain very excited about the possibilities that have not yet even been dreamed about here at Camp and the lives that will be impacted for Christ.
Finances have always part of the challenge here at camp, but God has always been faithful. Sometimes I think if we have to work at the fundraising just a little harder, it makes us appreciate the end result even more.
When work and family obligations kept me not quite as actively involved, I was almost always able to take a week of vacation in the summer and volunteer as the camp nurse or helping in the kitchen. Serving others in the background and behind the scenes is still where I am most comfortable.
I have just completed another six-year term on the board and served as president for the last two of those years. It was a humbling and rewarding a part of my life and I consider it a privilege to have served.
In the last 45+ years, whether coming onto the property for a church rep or board meeting, to volunteer help clean up the property with spring cleanup days, or to volunteer in the kitchen, the minute I drive through the gates at the beginning of the lane-way, a sense of peace and well-being comes over me; I know God is in this place and He has the power to impact the lives of all who enter the gates. How exciting is that! Camp and all of its ministries have helped me to become the person that I am, and I am so grateful to have been part of the ministry at camp. To God alone be the glory, great things He has done and I am just so excited about what is yet to come. Agnes Hyma.