Welcome to Kanakuk Kampfire, the gathering place for Kanakuk Alumni young and old. This blog is an online space for me, Jamie Jo, to connect and engage with the many incredible members of our Alumni Family.

For me, Kanakuk is my happy place! It really is! This past summer I was so overwhelmed with just how much I love Kanakuk every weekend I got to go back. I would go sit at the bottom of K-1 by the lake in the mornings in the fog and in the evenings as the sun would set, and I would feel peacefully at home. (Yes, I do realize that K1 is actually my home, but it was a different “home” I was feeling.). I would walk up towards the Council ring and feel like I was at home. I would walk up Cardiac Hill at K-2 and feel at home. The grounds of Kanakuk mean so much to me and the reason they mean so much to me is because of the deep friendships that were cultivated there. My dearest friends are my Kanakuk friends.

Growing up, I built my first real friendships at Kamp. They were built in cabins 1, 2, 5, 9 and 16 at K-1, and I would sing “I Don’t Want To Go Home (boom boom)” with my whole heart. I would cry at the end of the month after we sang “Remember” as I said goodbye to my cabin mates. (“Remember times you’ve had here, remember when you’re away, remember the friends you made here, and don’t forget to come back someday. . . .”)

And then I made my forever friends at K-2 on the dock and in the dining hall and while two-stepping in the K-Dome. I would spend my summers around the most amazing people and I would spend my winters lying on the floor of my bedroom in front of the Sugar Shack jukebox writing letters to my Kamp friends. Everything I needed to know about friendship I learned from a Kamp relationship. And my friends that have been by my side through my highs and lows all have Kanakuk as the common denominator.

That is a long introduction to why I am so excited about the Kanakuk Alumni Family, I know. But I hope you all know that I am just as excited about the reconnection as each one of you are. What a gift! What an adventure!

As I have talked to many of you and heard from so many more of you via social media, I am hearing the same things: we all want to RECONNECT!!!

I want to reconnect. You want to reconnect and that is what we are going to do on so many levels. My mission for my job as the Director of Alumni Engagement is to SERVE our alumni—to SERVE you. The ideas bubbling inside of my head and my heart are boundless and dreaming has been so much fun! And step one is reconnection.

So, please hop on board the reconnection train and engage with me as I create opportunities for reconnection and engagement. Let’s continue the relationships that we all built inside the Kanakuk gates beyond those gates and across the miles. You’ve always been apart of the Kanakuk Family, but I want to officially welcome you to the Kanakuk Alumni Family! Let’s dream together and do life together!

Jamie Jo Braner, Director of Alumni Engagement