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Monday, October 08, 2007

From Todd Elliott-Gates

When I heard Kawkawa had closed, my heart broke. I went to camp there for 10 years, and it was the highlight of my year.

I was a, oh how do I word this, "troubled" kid (to say the least!) Camp was really the only place that I felt loved. My parents were always too busy, and my brothers hated me, so going to a place where I felt welcomed and loved (in spite of myself!) was such a blessing for those 10 years.

Bertski, Festus, Crockett, Derby, Lucy, Schroeder, Johann, Blackie, Finesse, were just some of the memorable councillors for me. These people have a special place in my busted, broken, messed up heart, and really are the only reason(s) that I am alive today. The kindness, love, compassion, patience, forgiveness, etc. etc. that they showed me during one simple week at camp kept me alive during the year. I'd occasionally write or call some of them during the year (especially when my best friend Vyanne Neufeld died at Camp Squeah one year, the same week I was at Kawkawa, which screwed me up for years to come!) and simply their kindness alone helped me in more ways that I could ever express.

Of course, being as messed up a kid as I was, I caused some problems at Camp too. But every year, they'd welcome me back with open arms. That was love I had never experienced before.

It saddens me deeply that since Kawkawa's doors closed, there might be some other little boy, scared, frightened, beaten down, broken, lonely, that won't have the opportunity I did. I pray to God that he guides them to some other camp where the same type of amazing people and experiences can befall one who needs it.

Administrator, if anyone contacts you and wants to contact me, please don't hesitate to give them my email address. I would love to reconnect with anyone who might want to reach me.

Kawkawa will always be in my heart...