For anyone who visits one of our camping and retreat facilities, you cannot help but be struck by the amazing and, in many cases, life-changing experiences that await you. The opportunities for spiritual, educational, social (and let’s not forget the nutritional!) growth can give campers a glimpse into what their place in the world is in God’s eyes. It has been a true blessing for my wife Caroline and me (Bill) to experience this in our roles as both campers and volunteers, and a special joy to watch our daughter do the same in her capacity as a summer camp staff member.
Covering the costs associated with offering these experiences to all, especially those in financial need, has remained a constant challenge. This was what Betsy Stuller (known to many as the “Tie Dye Lady”) faced as a young woman. The story of how Betsy came to acknowledge and let God into her life has led to a life of service to others. Not only was Betsy’s life changed at camp, but through her, God has changed the lives of thousands of children and adult campers. Here’s Betsy’s story:
When Betsy was a 9th gerader in Astoria she had the opportunity to attend a week-long church camp at Suttle Lake. She was becoming curious about God and discovered “this was a very different way of going to church.” However, not having the money to pay for the experience, she took the opportunity to use what at the time was a commonly-used “work/study camp scholarship”; accepting work at the camp while she attended. When Betsy was not busy attending activities, she washed dishes. Then, on the final evening, she experienced something that opened her eyes and heart to God. While the campers sang “Are Ye Able” a staff person in a rowboat with an candle-lit cross approached the assembly from across the lake. When Betsy grasped the true meaning of the presentation, she felt as though “This was the first time I really heard the Word.”
From this life-changing moment to today, Betsy has been a blessing in the lives of others. Leading camps, she realized she had skills and talents to offer and decided to do something about that. When she learned a craft called “tie-dyeing” she recognized it was an easy and colorful way “for the kids to take something home with them.” Well, that was the start of what Betsy now refers to as her “tie dye ministry.” She has touched the lives of thousands with her love and desire to share her gifts with others – in the hope that they gain even just a portion of what she did years ago.
Betsy’s decision to accept the gift of a camp scholarship opportunity made a huge difference in both her life and in the lives of the thousands of lives she has touched. As our camping programs continue to touch and change lives, we invite you to consider what your contribution to our camp scholarship program could help someone discover in their life, or who they could share it with. You can change lives.