Hi Swamp Bloggers!

I hope you are having a great day. We are less than TWO WEEKS from the start of summer camp. Next week the full time staff will be out at camp, getting ready, and putting on Family Camp. We've had some great camp themes the past few summers, and this year our theme is drum roll please...Grit.

What does Grit mean? This year's theme comes as a response to the problems faced by our society with its quick fixes, entitlement, and mind set on instant gratification. In short, our society has become soft. This has led to a number of problems, including increased frustration, exacerbated emotional anxiety, and varied forms of escapism. Hard work is a key to life, and suffering is necessary to develop young character. Through studying out hard work and the role of pain and suffering in the lives of Bible characters, the lessons will seek to increase our desire to never give up, lower our anxiety levels, and teach us to welcome difficulties as a way to forge our character and bring hope. The theme scripture is Romans 5:3-5:

"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."

It sounds like this theme will be both eye opening and challenging. In addition to introducing the theme, the full time staff would like to introduce themselves, as well. They're hype for this summer! As I'm sure you are too!

Introducing the Full-Time Staff...

Hi! My Name is Titilayomi Abiodun. I am 19 years old and am going to be a sophomore at Georgia State University in the fall. I grew up in South Africa, and that's where I first learned about Camp Swamp through Swamp Corps. Since then, I have loved camp so much. This will be my second year as part of the full-time staff, and I am elated. I love being at camp and growing closer with the kids that come, other counselors, and having the opportunity to strengthen my relationship with God without the distractions of the world. My favorite snacks are pretzels and dried fruits, and I am a passionate lover of sloths, an avid tea drinker, and an advocate for hugs all the time. In my free time, I love to do anything that involves the people I love the most and an adventure. I am thrilled to have the pleasure to counsel at camp for the whole summer this year, and I can't wait for all the beautiful moments.

Hello everyone! My name is Chloe Arnett, and I'm an upcoming freshman at Kennesaw State University. I'm so excited to be a full-time counselor for the first time! Camp Swamp is a huge part of my conversion story, and I can't wait to give back to other kids what Camp has given me. A home. I'll be 18 by the time camp starts, and I'm so excited to start my campus life at the best place in the world. See you at camp!!

Hey guys! My name is McCall Bates, and I will be a sophomore at Emory University this fall. Some of my favorite things include dancing (in any setting whatsoever), talking to my mom, and wearing crocs.  I am SO EXCITED to be a full-time counselor for the second time this summer!!! I don’t really have the words to describe why I love camp except for the fact that it is at camp where I am the most confident. It gives me the absolute freedom to be me, and it’s just incredible to be able to see how evidently GOD MOVES at camp. I’m so excited to meet all of you! Also, if you’re ever so inclined to send me anything, I really love oreos, gummies, letters!!!:)))

Hi! I’m Brianna Bryant, and I am SO excited for camp this summer!! This will be my third time serving on the Full-Time staff, and I’m so glad that I’ll get to call the Swamp my home for another summer. I can’t wait to make new friends, see old ones, and just have a great time learning about God and having fun! Also! If anyone were to send me Hot Cheetos in a care package, I would be super happy. (I quite literally got an award for “most likely to be eating hot cheetos. LOL.)

Hello! My name is Benjamin Casazza, I'm 23 years old, and I work with Erwin Clark as a member of the facility management team at the Swamp. This summer will be my seventh summer working full time at the Swamp! Throughout my years of working at the Swamp I have learned much about maintenance, teamwork, and safety. I do my best to consider the safety of campers and staff at all times to help deliver on the Swamp's classic saying, "The safest place on earth besides your home". I do so through pool maintenance, facilities repairs, landscaping, and the consultation of those smarter than me. I really do believe the Swamp is a special place, and I hope others can come to know the Swamp as I do. Happy Camping!

WHAT'S REALLY GOOD, FAM?!?!?!?!?!My name is Dylan Chisolm, I'm 20 years old, and this summer will be my third time in a row counseling Full-Time at Camp Swamp!!! I'm a fourth year student at Kennesaw State University. I'm just stepping down from being president of the Club Table Tennis team, but I still play actively and will accept challengers in the Dining Hall any time. My favorite things at camp are FOOD, ping pong, gaga ball, jamming out on the porch, the singing devo, and most importantly, MY CAMPERS!!!!!! Not just the ones in my cabin, either; literally just campers who want to spend time with me. Physical touch and quality time are my top two love languages, so BRING IN THE HUGS AND LET'S HANG OUT! To feel loved, desired, and valued is something so important to me, and basically everyone, really, so I want to give that feeling to everyone I meet and hang out with this summer! One other way to make me feel loved: MAIL! My favorite snacks are GOLDFISH(especially flavor blasted) and EXTRA TOASTY CHEEZITS!!! I also enjoy(demolish) Ritz Crackers, Sour Patch Watermelons, and really anything made with white chocolate(Cookies n' Cream Hershey's, White Chocolate KitKats, WHITE CHOCOLATE MnM's!!!!!!!!). Anyway, I can't WAIT to spend another AMAZING summer with all of you! Much love, fam!!

Hi! My name's Nathan, and I am going into my final year at Kennesaw State University. I am a History Education major, and hope to inspire the next generation to be the best that they can be. This summer I turn 22 years old. I have a very old dog named Stafford. Camp is such a special place to me. I never had the chance to attend a summer camp like this growing up, but I see how much joy this place brings the kids. I like the opportunity that camp provides for kids to find themselves and grow in a safe place. I enjoy fishing, going on walks (especially in my Birkenstocks), and most anything that has to do with organized sports. I am definitely most excited for dodgeball. But seriously, I am most excited to watch walls break down and for campers to open up. Care packages are ALWAYS appreciated. Candy is great but cavities aren’t. I really enjoy written cards.

My name is Emma Fellows, I’m 18, and i’ll be the dish girl for the summer! I just graduated from high school and plan to attend USCB. My major is undecided, but i’m passionate about theatre and mental health. This will be my tenth year at the Swamp and my first time as full time! I love the atmosphere at camp and my favorite activity is to sit and people watch. I love getting to observe God’s work in motion among the campers. This summer i’m most excited about getting to serve the place that has served me most. I like care packages, but I LOVE letters! I love getting to hear from my friends and i’m always super encouraged. My favorite care package items are funky socks, cute pens, and anything that reminds the person of me! Im not picky; I’ll most likely love anything that someone sends me. My favorite day at camp is Wednesday because we get to participate in a singing devo AND a starlight devo. Getting to be at the place I love most for the whole summer is a literal dream come true. I cant wait to serve you all!

Hi! My name is Samantha Goss. I just finished my freshman year at Kennesaw State University (Hooty hoo go owls!!) And, I am currently majoring in Biology! I lived with my 3 best friends, Erin Brown, Jill Williams, and Erin Pope for my first year, and we will hopefully be getting a house at the end of summer and continuing to live with each other. I am originally from Athens GA, but right after I finished high school, my parents decided to sell the house and move back out to California, which is where I was born and lived until I was 4. I love love love the ocean and everything that comes with it, which also plays a role in my favorite animals being sea turtles and sharks! I absolutely love traveling and will be going on the SwampCorps Taiwan trip this year, which I am super excited about! Lastly I guess I should say what my role at camp is. I am camp's media specialist or better known as the camp photographer. This is my second summer doing full-time with this job and full-time in general, but I am still just as excited!! I can't wait to see everyone who comes out this summer and capture some beautiful moments!!

Chloe Graham here! I would like to invite you to sit back, relax, and enjoy this brief introduction as you get a glimpse into my life. I am 20 years old and a senior in college studying Interior Architecture. I have been a disciple for 6 years on July 18th!!! To me, life is an adventure and regardless of its ups and downs I take every opportunity as a chance to grow. Camp has stolen my heart and I am thrilled to spend all summer there! I am a real Disney princess. If you didn’t know, princesses love chocolate. I know that is a hard thing to send in a package, so fruit snacks are just as appreciated! I can’t wait to laugh, cry, learn, party, and dance my heart away at camp this summer!

What's up y'all! It's Jake here! I am 22 years old and a graduate from Tennessee Tech University. I am super excited to serve on the full-time staff again. There are many reasons I love camp and it's hard to understand where to start in describing them. I love the freedom about camp. You are free to be who you are. Not only that, but you learn to become comfortable with who you are. You learn how to be vulnerable and accepting of your strengths and limitations. You become free. You become you. I am looking forward to giving every ounce and drop of energy that I have to ensure that the campers have the best week of their life. Camp, here I come!!! P.S. Care packages are awesome. Letters are awesome. Snacks are awesome.

Hi! My name is Ariana Holt. I am  22 years young and a recent graduate from Georgia State University with a Degree in Criminal Justice and French. I am so excited to spend this Summer serving your kids! Some of my favorite things about camp are the singing devotional, the challenges, the starlight decks, and the time I get to really spend time with my campers and see each of their individual hearts. I know for myself that Camp has shaped me into the person I am today, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to spend my summer here. If you’d like to send me a package, some of my favorite things to receive are encouraging cards, Swedish fish, sour patch kids, goldfish, and La Croix! See ya this summer!

Hello! My name is Elle McLaughlin! I am currently a senior in High School but I graduate June 8th! I'm soo eager to spend all summer at my favorite place in the world! After camp, I will be heading to Nairobi, Kenya with Swamp Corps and staying for 6 months! I've dreamed of taking a gap year and moving to Africa for so long! I'll be living outside of the city looking for volunteer opportunities and ways in which God can use me! Following my gap year, I'll be attending NC State University Fall 2020! So my dreams are coming true! I can honestly say that I don't believe I would be doing what I am without the influence camp has had on me. Camp allowed me to truly experience our creator's love, compassion, and sovereignty when I needed it most. Traveling with Swamp Corps has shown me the vastness of God's creation and His character. There is nothing like it. Camp is something I treasure dearly and I'm ecstatic to get to know all my girls and create lifelong relationships! I would absolutely appreciate any care packages you would be willing to send! I'll be fasting from sweets so, unfortunately, no sugar :( but I love yogurt covered raisins, pistachios, and any dried fruit!

Hello, my name is Sharod Minton. I’m 20 years old and I’m a 3rd year marketing major at Georgia State University. I enjoy the atmosphere of camp. Everyone is able to be themselves freely and express their self in any way that they are comfortable without fear of judgment. I’m excited to be able to connect and have fun with the campers this summer. In my past experiences as a camper, I’ve looked forward every summer to being able to connect with my counselor and I’m excited to be in that position and have my own opportunity to connect with my campers.

hello!! my name is Briani Netzahuatl, and i'm 17 (turning 18 on June 28th during cancer season!) i'm going to be an incoming freshman at Columbia University in the City of New York, and i hope to major in political science! the people at camp are my favorite part, mostly because everyone is so encouraging and you really feel God's love from them. I'm excited for our impromptu sing/dance sessions in the dining hall, making mountains of friendship bracelets, and bible studies on the bridge! I enjoy baking (I make pretty good s'mores cookies), photography, making playlists on Spotify (legit have one for every mood), reading, and thrifting! i love getting cute socks and getting chocolate ANYTHING in a care package. i have developed a habit  of typing exclusively in lowercase letters, so i apologize in advance for that! i can't wait to meet everyone, and I'm so excited for this summer at camp!!

We all know 2+2=4, but have you ever wondered what a passionate spunk+ a love for Jesus+ strawberry blonde hair would be?  Well wonder no more, because that equals me! My name is Phoebe Peickert. I am a ripe 21-year-old senior in college. I attend the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and am very proud to be in their Nursing Program (if you are wondering, yes, I have had my pediatric rotation, so your children are in good hands!). I will be graduating in 2020 with the hopes of attaining a job in an Emergency Department or Intensive Care Unit, but I know I have much more to learn so I am up to going wherever the Will of God wants me. I love Swamp, I love having fun with the kids, and since you asked I’ll also let you know that I love Blueberry and Pomegranate Bai drinks, Fuego Takis, and any kind of mints (if you should feel so inclined to send a package). Anyway, I want to thank you so much for trusting me with your kids, because I am truly and sincerely honored to be a part of Swamp’s full-time staff.

Hey! My name is Andres, but my full name is actually Andres Eduardo Perez Rojas. My friends from childhood and family rarely call me by my first name. I have 2 older brothers, one is 22, the other is 27 years old. We all go by our middle names here at home. I live in Alpharetta Georgia. My family has been here since we got here in 2000 from Venezuela. That is originally where I was born, so I am also a native Spanish speaker. I grew up and still live in the same neighborhood that we arrived in. Growing up, I loved to play outside with my friends and make good memories. The Lord blessed me with an awesome childhood. Now, I'm going to be 21 this Summer, and I would say I haven't changed much! I love to have fun and go outside, play games, and enjoy the company of good friends.  I like to play video games with friends, as well as, when I have some spare time. I love to read all kinds of literature. I love movies. Going to the movie theaters with friends is a favorite activity for me! I also really enjoy music; I have a range of music tastes. I am planning on going to GSU this upcoming semester and continuing my education. I was baptized November 26th, 2016, when I was 18. I am now serving at Camp as a camp counselor for the third time, my second time doing Full time. I didn't grow up in the Church and had never imagined I would be serving God in such an amazing way. Helping my Campers in every way I can to have a fun and safe week, seeing them build friendships, and being a leader to them is a true joy that can't be compared to anything else. It's a time where I can let the light of Jesus shine, and see the spirit build, even through me! So I'm looking forward to doing the Lord's will, and being part of summers, memories, and lessons that will last a lifetime.

Hi! My name is Erin! I’m a sophomore at Kennesaw State University (hooty hoo!) and I’m a Spanish major. My favorite thing about camp has to be the environment. It’s a place that’s set up for friendships to be built and for great conversations and fun! Some of my hobbies include hanging out with friends, reading, and going on the hunt for the cutest dogs that I can pet :). I’ll take pretty much anything in a care package but my guilty pleasures are Takis and Sour Patch Kids. I’m super super excited for this summer and I can’t wait to see what God does!

Hey guys! My name is Matt Reddick, I’m 19 and going to be a Freshman at Chatt Tech in the Fall (I took a gap year these past 2 semesters). I look forward to building tons of new friendships this summer and helping all the campers grow in their relationship with God! In my free time I enjoy playing various sports such as lacrosse, ultimate frisbee, and football. At camp, one of my favorite parts of the day is mail call, so if you want to send me a package, my favorite snacks are goldfish and starbursts, and I love getting cards/letters. I️ can’t wait to meet everyone!

Hi all, I'm Elena. I am 19 years old and from South Africa! I am currently taking a gap year to travel the world, visit different churches and have an adventurous and fun-loving year. I will be studying forensic-psychology at university when I get back home. Camp is one of THE safest places I have been to on Earth! It is life changing, filled with memories  and has connected me with God in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I love sports, dancing, singing, and playing games! I am extremely excited about connecting to people of all ages, having a blast, as well as, growing and getting to know God and His character even more! In my care package I would like things like apples, grapes, almonds (I know, it sounds healthy but to be honest.. I loveeeee sour-patch kids! We don’t have them in South Africa)

Greetings everyone, I'm Gabe. I am beyond thrilled to serve this year at Swamp 2019. I am 20 years in age and originally from the Bahamas. Now I reside in beautiful Jacksonville, Florida. Diversity is a beautiful thing; therefore, I enjoy interacting with people despite similarities and differences. I love sports, track & field, to be more specific. I'm also a freak for puppies. Therefore, if you happen to think of me this summer and would like to send something in a care package, I love stuffed animals, Zebra Cakes, and Gummy Bears. I am truly looking forward to Summer 2019. P.S. I'm Still The Original Gabe.

Hola! My name is Alex Roman and I’ll going to grad school at Mercer university in a few months. I’m 21 years old and live in Kennesaw, Georgia, having moved from South Florida almost a year ago now. It’s quite a change, but I’m loving the good ol’ South! I like hanging out with friends, playing board games, dancing/ listening to music, playing sports, and I love learning new things and meeting new people. I’m a bit of a newbie with this being my second year going to camp, but it’s the love and many friendships that drew me back to this place :) If you’re looking to send anything my way, I love encouraging notes, sour candy, and goldfish snacks. I can’t wait for the summer and will see you all pronto!

My name is William Ruiz Diaz. I am 18 years young, and I am going to be attending Georgia State University in the fall. I come from the Atlanta Church of Christ in Gwinnett, I am a part of the choir there. I became a disciple July 24, 2016, and that day was hands down the best day of my life. It changed my life in so many ways that now I've been accepted to work at my favorite place all summer long! Swamp played a massive role in why I became a disciple, which is honestly why it is my favorite place in the world! Everyone at Camp accepts me for who I am and I couldn’t be more grateful for everything Swamp has done! I am super excited for this summer. Though it is my first time being a part of the full time staff, I am not new to the world of being a counselor. Having counseling experience and having just graduated high school just means I’m ready for all the campers. I'm ready to become friends with each and every single one of my campers! I love kids so much that I am considering majoring in education so who knows¿? Anywaysssssss, I feel like I’m rambling but I do want to say that I am locked and loaded and ready for whatever hits me this summer! Also, if anyone wants to lose in cards, well sorry to let you know so early, I’m pretty bad... take it easy on me please?

Hello ! Greetings from the nineteen year old you're entrusting your child/teen to this summer ;) My name's Alexa, and I just completed my sophomore year of college (amen). I am now one step closer to completing my degree in Horticulture (In case you don't know what that is -> I want to be a farmer !!) I love reading and lil baby animals and encouragement letters and artificial strawberry flavored anything <3 I'm so beyond excited and grateful to share my life and love and camp with all of you, please feel welcome to come and be my friend even if you aren't in my cabin this summer :) I'm so excited to meet everyone -> and while that excitement exists irrespective of outside forces, if you so desire to encourage ya girl and send me a package I love getting stickers, those grandma strawberry creme saver hard candies, harvest cheddar sunchips, or cape cod sweet and spicy jalapeño chips!! Bye Bye Now! I'll be seeing you soon <3

Hello Parents, my name is Zachary Sewell. Normally I would insert interesting things about myself here, but I couldn’t think of any. So, I asked all my friends. Rodrigo: He’s unusually clumsy. Looks like the popular kid in a high school movie. His pituitary gland is larger than average. Michael, Evan, and Nick: He’s light skin, tall, and handsome. Sister: He loves music. Mom: He loves sports, loves people, and loves to laugh. Swamp has always been my safe haven, I will never not feel at peace when I get to lay on my back and look at the stars with Mr. Jeff and my brothers and sisters. I attend Spring Valley High School, and hope to become a CEO of a company or a businessman of any kind.

Hello! I’m Avery Snyder, I’m 18 years old, I love to run, dance, play music, and play video games (not Fortnite). I will be attending Georgia State University this fall as a freshman and majoring in Computer Science. This is my second year counseling so I'm extremely excited to see my old campers as well as meet tons of new ones! I have a feeling this summer is gonna be a good one #NoSnakesNoBreaks.

Hey guys! My name is Jacob Williams, I’m a rising senior at UGA, and I’m so excited to be a full-time counselor at camp this summer! As a kid, camp was a place where I could be myself, and I was always mesmerized by the amazing counselors and their ability to love unconditionally and make camp fun. I’m so grateful that I have been able to provide that same experience to campers throughout the years, and I can’t wait to have a great summer this year as well! See you at camp!

Thanks to the full-time staff for introducing themselves this week. Don't forget to sign up for summer camp to see all these beautiful faces and to spend a week at one of the best places on Earth! Click Here if you haven't done so.

As always, thanks for reading!

Much Love & Respect,

Julie