Scenic view of trees at camp

20 Years of Family Camp

by Maggie CoffeyPosted Oct 9, 2018

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It’s week 2 during the summer of 1999, and the Wiesen family has just rolled into their first week at the Woods. Jumping and screaming counselors overwhelmed them, and Mrs. Julie Wiesen looked over and thought, “I don’t know if this is our place.” Little did they know that this would be their reality for the next 19 summers, and she would watch two out of her three children go from camper to counselor at the same place.

The Wiesen family has now been a part of the week 2 community at the Woods for 20 summers. Their kids, Jack, Caroline, and Elizabeth grew up looking forward to reuniting with their friends they had come to know so well.

“I’ve always said that it’s difficult to explain the connection you have with people that you only see once a year — our week 2 family. It’s like we have a secret handshake that nobody else knows about,” Mrs. Wiesen explained.

After years of being served and listening to camp cheers, the oldest two Wiesen children would eventually become counselors themselves. Jack was first; he became known as “Frodo” and loved it. His last summer as a counselor was in 2017. Later, in 2018, his younger sister Caroline joined the Pine Cove Woods family, adopted her new name as “Oh Sho,” and flourished as a counselor.

“To see them become what has been fed into them all those years as a camper was truly a humbling moment. It’s like I took an emotional sigh of relief and said, ‘Wow, God. You really did this,’” their mom said.

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After 20 summers at Pine Cove, they realized their time was up and Julie had a lot to reflect on.

“I’ve learned to rest, depend on the Lord more, be more intentional, open my mind to new things the Lord wants to teach me, and the list goes on and on,” she explained. “Pine Cove’s impact on my family cannot be fully grasped this side of heaven. My children have literally grown up here, and I shudder to think of what life would be like without the everlasting influence of Pine Cove in their lives — and mine for that matter!”

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At their final camper share (at least for now), Julie shared a poem she had written that completely captures their experience at Pine Cove. Here’s an excerpt:

An Ode to Pine Cove

Our children were so young when we first arrived,
The love of the counselors and Pine Cove’s love of family helped everyone thrive.
From the skits and theme nights to the old dining hall that shook when we jumped,
To the talking Mr. Moose and the old arts and crafts room, where the kids would get quite pumped.
No mere poem that I write can properly convey,

The impact of the Woods and the role in my family it has played.
The people of week 2 have been like family to my crew,
A bond that won’t easily be broken, because it’s sealed with family camp glue.
It’s like we all have a little secret that’s hard to express,
How a place can mean so much and how much it can bless.
Two of my kids have gone from camper to counselor, from being served to serving,
What a compliment to Pine Cove, one that is so deserving.
This I say to the new families and the ones who are just starting their Pine Cove days,
It’s worth every penny, especially if you stay for two decades!

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Maggie Coffey

Summer Staff

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