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SHE FELL OFF THE TOP BUNK AS A CAMPER, SHE BECAME THE CAMP NURSE. THERE’S A CONNECTION!

The fall didn’t do it.  The ministry did, and it’s been shaping her life and her family’s life ever since.  A donor thank you conversation recently with Mrs. Catherine Nunziata revealed the connection. She and her family are glad and generous donors to the ministries of NovusWay.  Why?  “Y’all did an amazing job!” Nurse Catherine says.  “From that camper kid that fell off the top bunk in the ‘80’s (yep, that was me!) to camp counselor, camp nurse, camper parent, Wild Womens Weekend participant and so much more – we have kept now 3 generations of campers in our family invested in Lutheridge.” 

What a way to begin your camper experience!  She’s still enthusiastic about that initial experience, down to helping clean latrines in Pioneer A (“everybody had chores back then” she remembers).  And everyone, she recalls, wanted to sleep on the top bunk. “That’s not good if you walk in your sleep”, she confessed.  This camper from the top bunk who walked in her sleep ended up in the local Emergency Room!  She spent the rest of the week with the Camp Nurse but when her parents returned from a conference in Chicago to get her at the end of the week, she refused to go home!  She stayed for a second week and has been coming back ever since.  Good came from that fall: “All the top bunks have protective rails,” she reports.  “My fall made that possible! Lutheridge became our ‘home church’ away from home” she says.  Fast forward to 1997: the ‘80’s camper from the ER was the Camp Nurse for the first time, but certainly not the last.

The Nunziata family (Catherine, husband Nick, daughter, Sofia and son Rocco) are Lutheridge “fans”.  Sofia and Rocco (as did their Grandmother and Mother before them) have years of camp attendance at Lutheridge and recently at Lutheranch.  Rocco wants to be a summer camp counselor.  Not surprising when your Mom loves and values outdoor ministry so much.  “I brought my best friend who is Jewish up for Christmas Week at Lutheridge,” Catherine recalls, “and now she sends her daughter to Jewish summer camp.”

Catherine’s faith life began at Apostles Lutheran in Marietta, GA.  Now living in Cumming, GA the Nunziata’s are active at a nearby Episcopal Church where Catherine has already begun to advocate for Summer Camp with parents and youth. She’s such a believer in God’s transforming work in the outdoor ministries of the Church that she’s happily recruiting for summer camp at NovusWay sites or any other church camp.  Not long ago Catherine received funds from an Aunt’s estate. What do you think she’s doing with those funds?  She’s using those funds to send kids to summer camp and families to familycamp. Our Covid-crisis special Light the Fire Appeal also received some funding from that estate gift.

Catherine’s fall from the top bunk was scary.  We don’t want anyone to repeat it.  But we are grateful to God for the blessing God made of that week of camp for her and for the life of faith and service her camp experience opened up for her.  Her story (not the top bunk fall) is repeated over and over in the lives of so many people near and far who received God’s abundant blessings at camp somewhere sometime.  There’s a place for you and those you love at a NovusWay site – a week of Summer Camp, an adult program or retreat; a hosted ministry event.  People like Catherine and her family give generously so we have scholarships for those who need help to come.  If helping make camp possible for someone in your congregation or in your community  would give you joy, we welcome gifts for scholarships.  Visit our website, www.novusway.org, to register for an event somewhere sometime or to make a gift to make that possible for someone else.  Contact Pastor Jan Setzler, Senior Development Officer, at jsetzler@novusway.org for more information.