Eyes on You!

Can I talk to you for a minute? I will never forget this question. It was posed by one of the camp staff on a Wednesday, the year I turned 12. It was the year my life was to change for the better. At this point in my pre-teeness, however, I was in a dark, sarcastic, and moody place. I wanted out of this cheery and overly positive environment. All I wanted to do is sulk. We sat in wooden chairs down by the water. It was a quiet time after lunch. It was at this moment, that I felt transformed. Someone was actually listening to how I was feeling and not laughing about it. This person had questions and allowed me to answer them in my teen speak, often probing for more, but allowing me to be me.


“For you belong to Youth Camp, and Youth Camp belongs to you.” When I was 8 years old, my brother, sister, and I spent a week out at Van Buren Youth Camp. I never, in a million years, would have believed how much I have gained from my association with this place. It was a place where I didn’t have anything to prove. I could be just me. Back in the 60’s, kids went to camp from the surrounding towns and small communities. It seemed like it was always full of campers with some kind of goal to achieve. Many lifelong contacts and friends were made and who knew I would still be in touch with most today? In the 70’s, WMU and UM sponsored Student Leadership Workshops there, and the venue and influx

The First Sip of Coffee

One snowy Christmas morning, more than ten years ago, I was given the gift of life. No, it wasn’t a transplant or anything like that. It was a Cuisinart Grind and Brew Coffeemaker. I have always been a coffee drinker. Well, I think it started in college. We got those generic cans with the stenciled word: COFFEE on the side and at that time, it seemed to be enough. We drank it black and it was kind of cool to like this adult concoction. As I matured and my taste for coffee began to refine, I began getting a fresh ground coffee daily from Full City Café when they first opened on Whites Road. It was an epiphany. Where had this been all my life? When it was discovered that quality coffee could

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