Whenever someone joins the Camp community, we sing. Whether to first-time campers on Opening Day or a visitor who drops in to share a meal in the Dining Hall, girls always sing a rousing rendition of the Camp DeSoto welcome song (to listen, press play on the link above.)
I mean, that’s got to feel pretty great, right? To be celebrated just for showing up? To be sung into the community and offered not just a word of welcome, but a whole song? Come on!
And the truth is, we are mighty glad you’re here! The air really does reverberate with welcome!
Think about when you were first sorted into a tribe. What an exciting moment! Sitting on the floor, listening to the cheers all around you, wondering, hoping, expecting, waiting. Whether you drew out of the hat or were placed in the same tribe as your mom or sister, once your tribe was announced, there’s no doubting that’s where you belonged.
Belonging is a pretty great gift to give one another. It’s a space of safety and love. A space of knowing that whatever comes our way during the month at Camp, we will share it. We won’t be alone.
And it’s not just about you being welcomed, its about welcoming others, too! You might be sung the welcome song on the first day of your first summer, but after that you get to sing other people in. And once you become a member of a Camp DeSoto tribe, you become the one welcoming other girls and covering them with stickers!
Take a look back at your cabin pictures from the summer - doesn’t the one from Opening Day feel different from the silly one taken on picture day? Of course it does! In the second one, you belong to one another. You’ve shared your daily routines (waking up, cabin clean-up, devotions) and thrilling surprises (Fireworks! Christmas morning!). You’ve saved spots for each other at the Sunday night picnic and squeezed your whole cabin onto one bench at Worship Sing on. You’ve danced your hearts out together at assembly and sleepily filed into Morning Watch, one behind the other.
You’ve lived side by side for a month, and your belonging to one another has deepened. At first, you belonged to each other because you were placed in the same cabin. Now you know each other and you have shared life - fun times and disagreements and everything in between. This is an even deeper, sweeter kind of belonging. Now, you feel safe with one another. Now, you are even more free to share your whole self.
We are God’s, because God made us. We belong! It’s a million times better than joining a tribe at Camp DeSoto. And just like living with our cabin mates for a month bonds us together, as we live our lives with God and the people he created, we get to know him even better.
Our belonging deepens, and in the security of God’s love, we are more free to share our truest, silliest, most beautiful self.