Sarah Neal Secrest is a sophomore at Texas Christian University studying Biology/Pre-Med as well as Spanish for Health Professions and Psychology for Leadership. She is originally from Jackson, MS. At TCU, Sarah Neal participates in the Student Government Association, Chancellor’s Leadership Program, Young Life, Reformed University Fellowship, Chi Omega Fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Health Honor Society, and Global Medical Training. Sarah Neal has been attending Riverview for 10 years, and as a member of our staff she has taught outdoor living skills, dance, arts and crafts, and is a lifeguard.
When asked “What has Riverview done for you?” Sarah Neal responded:
“To articulate what Riverview has done for me is not an easy task, as Riverview played a large role in shaping me into the person I am today. Riverview gave me a home away from home, where I could find true rest, joy, and love, while drawing closer to God. Throughout the Bible, mountains are seen as holy places where people explicitly experience and have encounters with God. For me, Lookout Mountain became a place where I had the ability to get up close and personal with God, escaping the loud and busy world surrounding me down in the valley. The counselors that loved on me, the freedom I had to choose how I spent my day, the scripture I studied with my friends, the innocent joy we experienced, just being kids living as kids, as we were created to live, are all things Riverview provides for campers. Seeing the beauty of life in nature, in campfires, in songs, in competitions, in stories, in activities, in rain, in searching for the buffalo rattle, and in friendships are all things I cherish about Riverview.
On top of all of this, Riverview gave me my best friend in the entire world.As a young girl, it is always fun to have your camp friends from different states, and different walks of life. Camp is a great way to connect to other believers and girls with similar interests as you. As time went on, my camp friends became my rocks. When times were tough at home, it was always my camp friends I turned to. They experienced life with me at camp and we always wanted those few weeks of our year to be our reality. There was always something special about life at Riverview. The community we experienced is how I believe God intended for us to live in community with each other. The peace, rest, joy, encouragement, and love poured over us at Riverview is something we grasped on to as campers. God’s exuberant love fills this special camp in Mentone, Alabamain a way that words cannot express. As years have gone by, my only friend that has stood the test of time, being my friend for now 10 years, is my best friend from Riverview. We are now 600 miles apart, both pursuing our dreams to become physicians one day, and both pursuing ministry, are walking through life together as friends and sisters in Christ.
I would not be who I am today, if I had not spent every summer since I was 10 years old up on Lookout Mountain, learning more about who I am and Whose I am. Riverview holds a special place in my heart and I am forever grateful for everything it has done for me.”