By Denise Neesar & Dale Deventi
My (Denise) daughter was just a few months old when my best friend Beki asked me to go to Mom and Tots camp with her and her two sons.
We met years earlier when we worked at another Christian camp, and she knew what that camp experience meant to me, and thought I would love to go. I said no, because it seemed ridiculous to me for a 9 month old to go to camp...what would she get out of it? It wasn't until after Beki returned and showed me pictures that I fully regretted not going. I realized how much I missed out, and that it wasn't just a camp geared for the Tots. When the opportunity to go to camp came up the next year, I signed up without hesitation. It has been ten years, with two additional daughters, and Mom and Tots camp is a highlight of our year.
My daughters' favorite things about camp are the pool, the slippy slide, the nature, the creek stomp where they get to hunt for crayfish, the absolute blast they have with their counselors and friends, and reaching the milestone of being 5 years old and getting to ride the horses! I love that the schedule allows Moms and Tots to have many fun activities together, but there are many opportunities for Moms to have times just with the other Moms, to engage in a Bible study while your Tots learn about God in a VBS type setting (with the absolutely incredible counselors), and to try new things like the High Ropes Course! Over the years I have been able to introduce friends to camp, reconnect with old friends, and make new friends at camp, and the result is always a deeper relationship. Of course, it is also more enticing that there is no cooking or cleaning involved! My kids and I always leave having thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, feeling refreshed, and spiritually filled. We also end up singing about a Great Big Moose named Fred for weeks and weeks!
My name is Dale DiVenti and I'm from Blackwood, NJ. I am a wife and mother of two kids, Luciana (6) and Leo (4.) We have been attending Moms-and-Tots Camp week for 4 years. We are always so excited to come. My kids talk about it all year long. I was originally introduced to camp by my sister, Denise Castagna. She was introduced by some other friends who we all worked at another summer camp with when we were teens and young adults.
One of my favorite things about the week at camp is the very real, true family time I get with my kids. It’s so refreshing to be able to spend genuine quality time with them without the added stresses of life. There’s no cooking, cleaning, or laundry while at camp. It’s a time to bond with my kids and for them and me to spend time with the Lord. I especially love how Camp Hebron focuses the whole week on moms and our relationships with God and our children while providing age-appropriate lessons and activities for the kids. The time spent with other moms is so precious. I have learned so much from my experiences with these women and the leaders are such great mentors for me and other mothers with young children.
Not only is camp a great time to grow my spiritual walk, it’s fun. It’s really fun! We spend most of our free-time in the pool. The highlight of the week is always the slippy-slide down the hill. The moms’ night is so much fun and the staff pampers us. Some of the best moments are the ones after the kids are asleep and the moms hang out and talk, play games, and laugh. It is a privilege to be able to spend the week at Camp Hebron. I can’t wait for June!