by Alicia Walz Posted Oct 23, 2015
Dear Pine Cove,
I just wanted to offer a quick explanation of this gift to Project 319 (Pine Cove’s scholarship program). My name is Alicia “Reverse, Reverse” Walz. I’m from Nebraska, and I was a counselor at the Timbers during the 2010-2011 summers. During my first summer, my little brother, Zach, went to Pine Cove for the first time as a camper at the Ranch. Zach has epilepsy – and this was the first time my parents had ever left him alone for an extended period of time. Needless to say, my parents were pretty anxious about it and making sure that he got all of his medication, but the health service team at Pine Cove was amazing. We couldn’t have left him in better hands.
Zach has also had countless problems in school. Because of his epilepsy, he has a learning disability and he is bullied frequently. When Zach left his week at the Ranch, he talked openly about how well the counselors treated him and how they consistently watched out for him to make sure other kids were treating him well. As a big sister, this meant the world to me. In my few short weeks at camp as a counselor, I had already fallen in love with Pine Cove. It was so good to see that my parents and my little brother had as well. I decided to come back for the full summer in 2011, so Zach was able to come to Timbers and experience a week at Timbers with me. In 2012, I was unable to return, but I encouraged my parents to apply for a Project 319 scholarship so Zach could go to camp. Much to my delight, Zach received a scholarship and went back to the Timbers! This summer, Zach will be going to the Shores on a scholarship from Project 319 as well.
Zach relies on his week at Pine Cove a LOT to help him get through the school year. This past year, as a high school freshman, he had countless seizures in class, at school, on the tennis court, and with neighborhood friends. He spent his spring break in the pediatric intensive care unit at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Life is not easy for him and as our family walks through things with him, we often have to take him back to how much God loves him and how God has a plan for his life. When Zach goes to Pine Cove, his counselors pour that into him as well, and that speaks volumes to Zach.
I decided to run a half marathon this May in honor of Zach. I sold t-shirts that said “seiZe hope” on them, tying the hope in Christ that Zach has to hold on to. I told Zach the t-shirts could help raise money for the charity of his choice. Zach’s final decision was between Project 319 and an epilepsy research foundation. When he decided, he told me this:
“Alicia, as much as I want epilepsy to be cured, I’d rather help kids go to Pine Cove. Because, even if a kid is cured, what good does it do them if they don’t know Jesus?”
I about died! Zach gets it! Everything Pine Cove teaches has taken deep root in his heart, which is exactly what Pine Cove is about. Jesus is the most important thing to him – and often the only thing he has to hold onto. Thank you so much for how you have invested in his life (and mine!). It means the world to us both!
The checks here are from the t-shirt sales and a few are from individuals who decided to donate just to Project 319 because of Zach. It makes me so joyful to know there is a kid out there who will get to experience Pine Cove and the love of Jesus because of this gift. Thanks for allowing God to use Pine Cove.
Alicia “Reverse, Reverse” Walz