Daniel Dyner Sermon 6.22.24

Hello.  For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Daniel Dyner, and this is my ninth summer at Camp Kawaga. For nine years, I’ve been so lucky enough to be able to call Camp Kawaga my second home.  When initially given the opportunity to write a sermon, I didn’t know what I would talk about.  But then thinking more about my time here, the memories of my past summers came back to me.  In 2016, I rode up on the bus as a nervous, curious, and reasonably homesick Sioux coming to camp for the first time.  As I got on the bus, I was surrounded by people eager to tell me about all that camp had to offer.  Little did I know that these people would become my lifelong friends.  I quickly felt a deep connection to this community in the middle of nowhere in Wisconsin.

I was 2,000 miles away from home, settling into a very special place.  The loud sounds of cars driving down a busy highway were replaced by wind blowing through the trees.  Concrete sidewalks swapped for forests and shorelines.  My home became a wooden cabin filled with 27 of my closest friends.  With no outside distractions, camp was my escape into a different reality where I didn’t have to think about school or any issues I was going through before the summer.  

It came as no surprise that I was drawn to the water.  I found a home at Miracle Dock and was welcomed into an environment where everyone was supportive and encouraging.  This wasn’t just at Miracle Dock though.  This was Camp Kawaga as a whole.  I didn’t feel alone.  I had uplifting support every day and realized I was never alone in anything I did and when I had guidance my goals were more successfully achieved.  A quote that I like to attest to this is, “If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.”

But while at camp, I learned something I couldn’t find anywhere else.  I learned how to handle failure and make mistakes.  Here, I felt safe from anxiety when I would miss a game-winning pass or fail a proficiency.  This was because I knew it was helping me improve, and the whole camp always had my back.  Camp is a great place to fail because you can get back up and try again while being supported by everyone around you.  This was something that school could never teach me. Whatever goals you have set, there is no doubt there will be hurdles along the way, and when you’re at camp, these hurdles shouldn’t discourage you.  They should motivate you. So roll with the punches, keep your head up, take chances, and stand up in the storm.