One of my favorite high school memories was the Kanakuk Spring break trip to Florida in 1991. It was literally a dream come true for me! It was my first vacation without my parents, and I got to spend the week with some of my favorite (first term) Kanakuk friends! I don’t think I stopped smiling or having the time of my life from the minute I hopped in the Kamp van with the interns in Branson to start the journey!

We caught the bus in Little Rock, and for the next fifteen hours I was “cooped up” with my friends from Texas! We played cards and talked and laughed and I was so excited to get to spend the week with them! I was looking forward to the beach, the ocean and Disney and Universal –but mostly I was just looking forward to being with my Kamp friends away from Kanakuk, and being with people who were not school “friends.” For me, there were no better people than Kamp friends, and this week was a magnifying glass of all things wonderful.

Looking back, I think my two favorite parts of the trip were the teaching times each morning and evening and my timeless friendship with Todd Rapp. In terms of the teaching, I loved soaking up and diving into the word, and I was at an age where the Bible was speaking to me on a real level. I think I would have chosen the teaching time over the fun times because that was where I was in my journey. And my friendship with Todd was just so easy, so fun and so unconditional, and I ate it up that week. He was an intern with Kanakuk, so he was living at Kamp that year, but I think his friendship was so refreshing to me on that trip because it was a friendship I was confident in. Even though I was so excited to see my Kamp friends, I was nervous to be around them away from Kamp. I was nervous about fitting in, so my friendship with Todd was a big comfort as I was finding my way that week and navigating being 16 around all of my Texas friends who were so “cool” and so “amazing” in my head.

That was the only Kanakuk Spring Break trip I got to go on as a Kamper. I went on several to Cancun when I was too young to be anything but Joe’s daughter, and I got to go on the Kamp ski trip every winter, but again, as a daughter. Spring Break 1991 was great, and I’m thankful for those memories! I’m thankful for Todd, Dabo, Winn, Paul, Whitney, Stephan, Katherine and Alex. I’m thankful for the laughter, and I’m thankful for the adventure, I’m thankful for the pictures, and I’m thankful for the smiles. It was a great Kanakuk break from the “real” world for just a week.

Jamie Jo Braner, Director of Alumni Engagement