Twenty-four hours alone in the woods is not something that everyone can claim to have accomplished, but this isn’t the case for this woodsman, if you will: Maya Kingston.
Maya Kingston attended Camp Deer Run in New Hampshire this summer from June 26 to August 20. This camp aims to strengthen the camper’s relationships with God and each other through nature and serving. It is located on Lake Winnipesaukee and is surrounded by the White Mountains.
During these two months, Maya Kingston participated in canoeing, tubing, and a six–day hike throughout the White Mountains. The camp is co-ed, but is very selective with only twelve girls and twelve boys in each age group.
Not only were the campers having fun, but they also touched the hearts of the community around them as they volunteered to serve the local community for one week. The camp helped others through landscaping, working kitchens, and serving wherever needed.
Maya also participated in the leadership program at the camp, where select members of her age group mentored and led the younger age groups in Bible studies and activities. Maya says, “The Leadership Program helped me to loosen up. One younger camper told me about God speaking to her, and it was amazing. Being around those nine year-olds helped me realize that I want to be more childlike in my faith.”
Her mom attended the same camp and leadership development program when she was Maya’s age. After that, Maya’s mom became a camp counselor. Maya plans to do the same. Maya says that the camp is a part of who she is now, as she has attended Camp Deer Run for eight years.
Though many beautiful things happened to Maya during this camp, many things that pushed Maya out of her comfort zone also happened. Maya was sent with her age group on a six day hike through the White Mountains. As if that wasn’t scary enough, Maya was then sent into the woods for a solo trip for twenty-four hours; nothing but water, a tarp, a sleeping bag, and a Bible was allowed. They fasted during these twenty-four hours to avoid running into any wild animals. Maya was absolutely shocked at how this day in the woods positively impacted her relationship with God.
At the end of the summer, it was time to go home. Maya says she grew her relationships with her fellow campers. She remarks, “I came back feeling refreshed, better, more real connection with friends because [there was] no phone–[my] friends are like family to me now.”
“Though I was pushed a little out of my comfort zone when we went on a six–day backpacking hike through the White Mountains, I still never felt alone because I had God–and my friend Nick who I could hear rustling in the distance,” she says.