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This week we had the pleasure of hearing from Nathan VanVlymen! Nathan served three summers at Beulah and volunteered this summer during High School Week. Check out what he had to say about how camp has shaped his life, impacted his heart, and is a special place because of the people who serve here.

I had the opportunity to serve three summers here at Beulah from 2021-2023. I got to experience camp in so many different ways and see it from multiple angles. As a former middle school camper turned staff member, Beulah will always have a home in my heart. There’s a lot that makes Beulah so special. It’s a place where the most adamant non-dancer can find himself dancing front and center during the mix. It’s where God brings the most unique and amazing people and he forms them into an unwavering team to serve and grow his kingdom. Beulah is filled with leaders who are filled with vision and passion. It’s a place where you can pour out God’s love to the next generation while doing the most ridiculously fun things. There’s a lot that goes into making Beulah special, but one thing stands out. 

        Recently, I had the privilege of coming back to serve one more week. A victory lap that was as much a blessing to me as it was to my campers. Hoping back into the chaos of High School camp felt right. I got my list of campers, got hyped with the team, ran to the basketball court, and started dancing. As I got my campers one by one, I knew I was in for a great week. It felt good to be back in the saddle. There’s nothing that makes counseling easy, but it’s always worth it. By the time I reached the mix my group was locked in, inside jokes were being formed, new friendships beginning, and a God ready to get to work in their lives. I had a group of church kids. They’ve done the camp thing before, they know the things to do and the words to say to have a “spiritual high” but they wanted something different. They wanted to make changes to how they pursued God. And I was just the counselor they needed for the week. I was able to push them out of their comfort zone, bringing a new approach to debrief time. I got a front row seat to see how they embraced a higher intensity to their faith. I was able to lead well with confidence, because that was always displayed to me by my leaders at Beulah.

        In addition to the impact I got to make with this group of campers, I was encouraged to see campers from the past. Over my three years on staff, God allowed me to pour into countless campers and staff members. And one incredible thing I got to witness this year was seeing some of those people join staff and turn into leaders. I witnessed former campers lead their groups well as they poured out love onto their campers. And staff members that I led step up into leadership roles. I was blown away. Here’s the thing, through all the fun, dancing, late nights, activities, and friendships that I got to experience while at Beulah, there is one thing that really makes this place special, it’s the legacy people leave behind. That legacy is people. Beulah thrives because those who are raised up as leaders, raise up new leaders. I could not have counseled well or led well if I had not been led well. I always had people who poured into me, and I was happy to pour that out on others. I had three great summers and an internship, more than what most people are lucky to get. And I will always be grateful to the amazing people God used to build me up and make me better. And I hope that the people I was allowed to grow and challenge continue that legacy and they keep making Beulah special.