Brenda’s #myCWRstory

Note: Brenda worked on summer staff in 1975. 

I worked at Camp Willow Run the summer that Mr. Mangum [co-founder & director] died. I didn’t know how ill he was or even had an inkling that he would be gone so soon after my interview. I just felt privileged to have been given the opportunity to work there, the summer following my freshman year at UNC, as I had then only recently committed my life to God. The first job given me at camp was working as a cook under Mary Sue in the kitchen, a job that I embraced and loved and which sparked a life-long passion for serving great food to large dinner parties!

When a camp counselor opportunity came up three weeks into my summer there, I…[began] learning how to share Christ’s love with each age group that arrived. The learning curve was steep and in the midst of my own personal challenges was the loss of a man I barely knew, Mr. Mangum. I think God’s grace surely carried us through that summer as I watched how the staff and Mrs. Mangum struggled with their deep loss but ultimately rested on the assurance of God’s mercy and love. It was a growing experience for me like no other.

I have many wonderful memories of my summer at Camp Willow Run: homemade sourdough rolls, stories around a campfire, teaching canoeing and archery classes only a couple weeks after I learned to do it myself(!!), fresh corn on the cob from a nearby farm, all the singing—learning camp songs for the first time (“Pass It On”, etc.), working with a young diabetic, learning sign language to communicate with one of my campers, and even seeing a young guy ask Jesus into his heart after sharing with him. All this and more in one summer of life-changing experiences.

Photo above shows my own daughter beginning her camp experience 35 years from the summer I worked at Camp Willow Run.

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