My name is Elisabeth Plungis and I have been attending camp at Lakeside Christian Camp and Conference Center for 10 years. I started attending RBGY summer camp at Lakeside when I was 8 years old and have gone every summer since. Those years spent at camp have been the most developmental in my faith throughout the years. I am forever grateful for the growth in my faith and friends I have made from my experiences at Lakeside. I hope for the same opportunities to continue for future campers.
Growing up I never had Christian friends at my church or school. It was difficult for me to make friends at home and I was often judged or made fun of in school for being “different” because I am a Christian. I always longed for an outlet to make connections with other young Christians. Lakeside enabled me to create those connections and friendships. My two sisters had attended RBGY camp when they were growing up, when I was finally old enough to attend I was ecstatic. My first experience at Lakeside was in 2010; the first year RBGY camp was held at this location. As soon as my mom drove me into the Lakeside grounds I felt instantly at home. The welcoming atmosphere and the beautiful environment was unlike any other. I remember instantly befriending counselors such as Taylor Crane, Ryan Killpatrick, and Mary Leighton and kids such as Shannon Samowski and Hannah Bennett. Even though I formed these relationships 10 years ago, I cherish them to this day. I have made countless lifelong friendships at Lakeside who I would have not met if it wasn’t for camp. Still every summer when driving to Lakeside I get the same butterflies in my stomach just like when I was 8; knowing that I'm just moments I would be able to see the most important people in my life. Lakeside provides an outlet for Christians to build relationships with each other, learn from each other, learn the word of God, and have fun while doing it.
Once I was 13 I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, and Depression. Everyday was a constant struggle as I learned how to deal with my anxiety and depression. At this same time I was now without a home church and I struggled to feel a sense of belonging anywhere. My sister and I went to over a dozen different churches trying to find a sense of community but we struggled to find a new church. Eventually my sister grew tired of looking for a new church and ultimately rejected Christianity all together. I now was alone in my faith and the only outlet that remained was RBGY Camp. I would wait every year for the week of camp, countdown the days even. The immense support I received from everyone at Lakeside was tremendously helpful during this time. I had a community of Christians whom I was able to depend on to always be there next summer and to get together during the school year. The friends I met at lakeside were able to help me through the hardest moments in my life.
I have grown from being a camper at Lakeside to now being a counselor. I would not be the person I am today, nor have as strong of faith as I do if it were not for RBGY camp at Lakeside and all of the amazing people I have met there. The thought of Lakeside permanently closing is devastating as I have dreamed of giving kids the same opportunity that I had to grow in themselves and their faith, feel loved, and make lifelong friends. Lakeside Christian Camp and Conference Center has an everlasting impact on so many people, young and old and I hope it will remain to do so for years to come.