Written by Mike Bredeweg
In 26 years on Young Life staff, I have been to camp more times than I can count. I have literally spent a year and a half of my life at Timber Wolf Lake. I have directed many weekend camps and know the routine in and out. But during the weekend of November 18, I got to see camp through new eyes.
Seven of our local Capernaum friends joined thirty-five kids from our area for a fall weekend at Timber Wolf Lake in Lake City, Michigan.
Over the last two years, I have become friends with Nolan. I was excited to get to spend the weekend with him. It was his first time to Timber Wolf Lake and my first time leading someone who was blind. I got to see the weekend through his eyes and he got to see it through mine.
Nolan absolutely loved the energy and humor of club. I would explain the videos to him and any other visual things that were going on. Nolan laughed louder than anyone and was shocked at the outlandish things that the program characters would say. Nolan was captivated by the speaker’s words. I enjoyed club as much as I ever have because of Nolan!
It was a wild weekend with tons of activity, blowing snow, incredible meals, and lots of walking. I have never been so responsible for another person as I was during my weekend with Nolan. Nolan helped me be in tune with the sounds of camp and the smells. Nolan knew there was a lake before I ever told him because he smelled it—that is incredible to me!
Nolan lives in a world of sounds so the weekend was almost a constant conversation: discussing what was going to happen, where we needed to be next, what was discussed at cabin time, how his life is going.
One of my favorite moments of the weekend was when our Capernaum crew went to the climbing wall. The wall was a risk. I kept asking myself, “How in the world is this going to work?”
One of the elements on the climbing wall is basically a railroad track going up the side of the gym. I helped Nolan find the first couple logs to hold on to but soon he was higher than I could reach. He kept going, and going, and going. Nolan is not afraid of heights! How incredibly brave to climb when you can’t see. Nolan taught me so much about what faith really looks like. I learned so much this weekend.
I went as a leader to teach my kids but I realized how much I had to learn from them all. Those who are blind can teach us to see what is really going on around us; they can show us the people we miss. Kids with a limp can teach us how to walk out our faith. Kids who process simply can remind us of the simplicity of faith and how to trust like a child.
“For we live by faith, not by sight.”
— 2 Corinthians 5:7