Alumna Spotlight: The Memories That Shaped Me

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Alumna Emmie Uffman Russell was a camper for six years and a counselor for two. She’s taking over the Blog today to share some of her favorite camp memories that have stayed with her and impacted her long after she left the gates!

I attended Greystone for the first time in 2008 as a 10 year old. It was August Camp, right around the time of the 2008 summer Olympics. In true Greystone fashion, staff decided to celebrate the opening ceremonies by going all out — releasing candy from the sky!

Imagine all of camp spread across the Pageant Court with their pillow cases in hand, eager to catch the best treat possible. Girls were diving for candy left and right and we ended the day with our very own Olympic opening ceremony.

This exuberant, joy-filled, and a little absurd celebration encapsulates the way Greystone celebrates each girl who enters the gates. Greystone has a way of creating joy from small things that has shaped who I am because of my years at camp.

One of my favorite camp memories was the Hill Billy Hoopla Evening Program, a friendly evening of competition where I learned that I have a remarkable gift of shucking corn with my toes. This EP culminated in a competition in which my cabin played ultimate frisbee with bananas against another cabin of girls our age, which we won—clenching our victory in the competition. The win was sweet, but the friendship that camp brought me is even sweeter.

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I attended Davidson College and didn’t know many people there, but was serendipitously placed into the same dormitory as a girl on the opposing banana ultimate frisbee team from camp, Bess McLawhorn. Bess and I didn’t know each other well when we were campers, but when we saw each other at school we put aside our differences from the competition and became tied at the hip.

Camp made friendship easy due to the bond and values we shared from our time there. Bess and I ended up living together the remainder of our time at Davidson, she stood alongside me at my wedding, and she will forever be a life-long best friend. Because of Greystone, I can find a friend almost anywhere I go.

Now, as a medical student, it is easy to become sucked into studying virtually 24/7. However, Greystone’s teaching of the Four Fold Way has taught me to lead a life against the grain.

My years of trying to keep count of the laps around the old track at Stumblers has turned me into a runner. The many sessions with weeks on end of making our own sunshine in constant rain have instilled in me a positive attitude and mental toughness that continue to help me to endure through life’s hardships.

I realize the importance of prioritizing time for friendships filled with depth from the many DMCs I shared on the canoe dock. Most importantly, from the hundreds of prayers, devos, and scripture memorized, Greystone allowed me to deepen my faith.

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I attended camp all the way through my Senior Senior year, and it was in those later years where I began to grasp the richness and depth behind the fun of camp.

Greystone creates a place for girls to feel in a big way how they are loved so deeply and celebrated so joyfully by Jesus. The evening programs full of big fun and sweet celebrations gave me a little glimpse into what I imagine heaven will be like and the way the Lord celebrates me.

Because of Greystone, I know the Lord in this sweet way and get to carry that spirit forward in my life!

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