Hello again UCCI community. As has been established, I do not have grandchildren, yet for decades I have been dreaming of attending camp with them. That vision has shepherded me through 20 years of faithful service to the mission and ministry of United Church Camps, Inc. (UCCI). Here then, is my last official work for UCCI:
To my Grandchildren, whom I dearly love,
Have I ever told you how your great-grandfather was introduced to UCCI? Hank Svetnicka was recruited to be a youth counselor at Moon Beach in the late 1950s or early 1960s by Rev. Ray Hernandez. From there, great-grandpa Hank’s love for serving Moon Beach only grew. He volunteer-directed family camps, served on the board of directors, and used his considerable trade skills during work camps at Moon Beach, Pilgrim Center, now Daycholah Center, and Camp Corbin (a wilderness camp that used to be associated with UCCI!) Your great-grandad even applied to be the managing director after Vern and Carol Bernardo. He didn’t get the position. As it turns out, God had a different plan in mind. Later that same year, 1966, he overcame a brain tumor and helped birth a baby boy! People say that’s why I’m so spoiled, I couldn’t cry much as an infant since it hurt Dad’s head too much. I’m okay with being spoiled by people that love me! 😊
The work camps that your great-grandpa took us to were so fun! I remember when he and a crew tried to keep the old vertical log lodge at Moon Beach from falling apart at the seams with cables. There was nothing that man couldn’t do–and he was so generous in teaching others how to do cool stuff. At the end of the day, he was also quick to fetch a gallon or two of A&W root beer for the volunteers. I’m not sure why that tasted better sitting on the end of a tailgate after a day of hard labor, but it really did!
Those work camps are just one way that people get to serve UCCI. Some volunteer for annual spring readiness or fall leaf raking events. Others provide necessary respite and care for our Camp AweSum families. Now that you are 14, that is what we are doing this summer. Volunteering to support families with members on the autism spectrum will change your life immeasurably! Other volunteers chaperone for youth retreats with the Wisconsin Conference and/or partner Presbyteries. UCCI even hosts people for extended volunteering doing cooking, cleaning, and office work; all in the service of outdoor ministry! It’s right in the Bible, it is through the serving that we are served. In the giving that we receive.
Kids, your great-grandpa Hank certainly had that figured out. Giving your time, talent, and treasure is a privilege. It’s an honor to volunteer for something bigger than yourself. It’s a necessary salve for a wounded soul. It’s sort of like being held so you don’t cry.
With all my love,
Friends, I sincerely love UCCI and this community. I personally invite you to attend an event this year. Please consider a donation to keep our sacred places going strong for generations. If like me, you are dreaming of grandchildren, keep in touch, and I will see you at camp!