Dear Cathedral of the Pines, 

Thousands enter your gate each and every summer. They are either coming back to, or beginning the search for, a place that they can call their own. A place that they can belong by being exactly who they are. A place that is both serene and energetic at the same time. A place where they can develop their faith over many years as they transition from camper to Hi-Leaguer to volunteer. I recently contemplated what my life would be like without your stunning views, contagious laughter and unyielding acceptance. After thinking about it, I realized that my life would be lacking countless memories, long talks and lasting friendships; but I would survive because those things still exist elsewhere in the world. However, adding “unwavering faith” to your list of qualities is what distinguishes you from the rest. The faith one feels in your presence brings them strength because you exemplify grace and love day in and day out. I thank you for giving me an opportunity to be in that presence and a part of something so unique and special. There are not many places that one can go year after year and never feel that they have outgrown the experience. Growing up at COP, I heard countless tales from those who came before me and it is remarkable to think that even though years have passed, I am experiencing the same things. Not only has your schedule stayed the same, but you have continued to teach and develop campers into the people they are today. I know I wouldn’t be who I am today without you and I am blessed that no matter how far my journey may take me, I will always have a place to call my own at COP.-Anonymous


Cathedral of the Pines has tremendously impacted my life. It has allowed me to build friendships based on faith, and friendships I know will be constant throughout my life. One of the biggest impacts of camp has been devotions – they have helped grow my relationship with God and have given me a better understanding of him. In the time I’ve spent at camp little has changed with regards to the look of camp, but my appreciation toward it has. I’ve grown such an appreciation for the staff and volunteers that help make camp what it is. Not many of my friends outside of Mount Olivet can say that they have something so special that they share with their church and its members. However, I’m able to do that. No matter where I go in life, Cathedral of the Pines will always have a special place in my heart. 


So it might be cliché to say that Cathedral of the Pines is the best place on earth, but it truly is, because it shows us how God unconditionally loves everyone. When most other places simply teach that lesson, Cathedral of the Pines shows it through example. When you step off the bus, you leave behind the invasive drama and judgement that can be in the lives of so many of us. During my 9th-grade week, my counselor, Ben, helped to shape me into someone who cares about others, instead of worrying about what they may think of me. The people at camp also show me how valuable I really am, not just to others, but also to God. These are only a few examples, of the many ways camp has affected myself and others in an indescribably positive way. Cathedral of the Pines is truly the best place on earth.


It’s very hard to imagine my life without COP, as it is a place I have grown so fond of. Through the years my role at the camp has changed from camper, to workstaffer, to counselor, but camp always seems to stay the same. Some of the activities vary depending on the age campers are up that week, but you can always count on playing “honey if you love me,” and you better be ready to play softball every day. It is because of camp that I am who I am. My faith has grown tremendously in the 10 years I’ve been going to camp. It has kept me involved in other church activities as well, which has facilitated even more growth. Though I’m sad this summer will be my last year counseling at COP I know camp isn’t going anywhere, and I will make sure to visit. More importantly though, I know that what camp has given me will stay with me for the rest of my life – and I am forever grateful for that.