I am so grateful for all the campers, counselors, sidewalkers, volunteers, therapists, child life specialists, nurses, and physicians who gave their week to Camp TLC.  151 individuals that made Camp TLC a success.  Thank you to the parents for letting us enjoy your camper for the week.  We do not take lightly that you are counting on us to invest, encourage, and care for your children.  They are the best group of kids, and we are so grateful to provide this Camp for them and you.

Boating, fishing, Climbing, Zip-Line, swimming, Horseback riding, sports & games, arts & crafts, pottery, nature, and archery were the daily activities we fought to attend through rain and shine.  Our Projects were terrific and included PAWsome project with Falco & Bree, Basketball, Fishing, Lights Camper Action (LCA), Photography, Cheer/Dance, Crocheting, and Card/Board Games.  Fun was had by all, and new skills were learned across the Camp. 

Our evening activities were a HUGE success. 

We kicked off Camp with an Olympic-sized welcome and opening ceremony on Sunday.  It was amazing to be together, dancing and singing and cheering.  We don’t just like Camp – We love it!

Monday was Olympic Theme Night.  Team games with our cabins were a great way to begin the week.  We enjoyed indoor activities because of the rain, but it all cleared away, and we ended with a beautiful night.

Tuesday was another rainy afternoon.  The rain came, and the rain went, and it ended up taking our cookout indoors, but even the weather gave way to the fun and allowed us a great time of ice cream churning, songs and stories out with our cabins and cabin friends.

Wednesday the rain was too scared of us and stayed away.  Water Game Day is not easily conquered, so the weather cooperated.  The work and effort by counselors and therapists were worth seeing the campers’ fun, joy, triumph, and smiles as they played in the hoses, buckets, and slip and slide.  Water Games is my 2nd favorite hour of Camp.

Thursday came too quickly, and it is always so bitter-sweet for me.  This week more than others (more on that later).  I have always said if you can attend Camp TLC for only one hour, Thursday night is the night.  Friendships have been made, romantic connections are first imagined, Projects are completed and celebrated, and campers and staff become one and are genuinely Camp TLC all together.  It is priceless, and I love everything that it gives.  Yes, there are tears for those ending their camp time, but I take pride in the fact that Camp was created in such a big way in each camper that it causes the ending to be that important.

Reflecting on this year’s Camp, I am more sentimental than in past years.  As my partner and friend Erik Meintser decided in 2023, it was time for him to transition out of an active role in the week of Camp – I managed to put that aside and keep him close as he was offloading information.  As Camp drew closer, I had so many memories of our 18+ years together at Camp flooding me and making this time bitter-sweet.  Erik is a remarkable man, a creative soul, a skillful administrator, and a big-hearted director.  His part of this yin-yang partnership will be hard to reproduce.  He brings with him everything I lack with great strength.  I have been so blessed to have him fill in my gaps, and I am honored to have been by his side while he served and lead and loved Camp TLC.

I am here because of Joy and because I have had wonderful mentors – thank you, Joanne Hurtekant; I am here because of who Erik is, what he helped accomplish, and how big his heart is for Camp TLC.  As a result of Erik’s departure from directorship, I wanted him to know how important he is. Erik will always be a part of the story of Camp TLC.  Because of Joy and its sponsors have given a place for directors and leaders of all camps to reflect on their position and enjoy their time at Camp John Marc by placing a Gliding Bench in Erik’s honor.  He will forever be a part of Camp TLC and Camp John Marc in our hearts and on the Casa porch.

Thank you, Erik Meintser, for your 9 years of directorship, 3 years of assistant directorship, 4 years of counselor and volunteering, and the countless hours you have invested in the lives of our campers and volunteers.  You have gone above and beyond; we are the recipient of a man using his heart to lead his gifts and help others.  I have been there to witness it all.  I am so grateful to you and proud to call you my friend.