Top 7 Summer Camp Secrets
If you have ever worked at camp before, you are well aware of the roller coaster of emotions you encounter each and every week as the summer progresses. First, it’s the anxiety you feel as a new staff member, when you meet fifty new faces on your first day. Then, it’s the excitement you feel as you see five to ten bright-eyed children running up to your cabin on Sunday afternoon. Yet all too soon, anger rears its ugly head when you’re sleep deprived, you’ve cleaned up vomit twice in one day, and that difficult camper asks you yet another scheduling question. Then, when you fear that all hope is lost, you’re sitting in your one-on-one and that same camper quietly asks Jesus to be her Lord and Savior; it is then that your joy is evident and abundant. Finally, it’s time for the summer to close and all of those weirdos that you met on day number one have now become your family and your heart is saddened to say goodbye for the next nine months. The craziest part isn’t that all of these emotions are deemed ‘normal’ among camp staff, but that God uses them to stretch and grow our faith exponentially while we’re here. Come December, when we are starting to think of what the next summer will hold, He helps us to forget the frustrations that we encountered throughout the weeks and reminds us of the joy that we find in serving His children for the one or two weeks we get to have them. We may never get the chance to say it out loud (because we’re focused on telling the funny stories from Club!) but these seven reminders of joy are what bring us back each summer.
7. Camp is more than just a summer job.
It’s the place where playing a game of Gold Rush with 300+ campers is life-giving, it’s the place where getting pied in the face at Club is a highlight of your summer, and it’s the place where strangers quickly become your family.
6. Sometimes you simply need to sit down and look at the stars.
We are convinced that the stars you see at camp are some of the prettiest you will ever get the chance to see. We’ve learned that rest hour isn’t just for the campers and that God allows us to be in His creation to revel in the beauty and take rest in being unplugged from the rest of our plugged-in world. When we take a second to sit down, we are able to see the blessings He pours out each and every day.
5. Handwritten encouragement always seems to come at just the right time.
We love mail! It is a highlight of our day when we are able to see the letter from our family or friends back home. These letters seem to always come right when we needed a bit of encouragement from some of the people who love us most.
4. Camp may be the only place where doing the dishes is fun.
While Hobart is running, you can sing, dance, or laugh with some of your best friends. Our wonderful CIT’s have some of the best attitudes of anyone at camp, and they represent Christ daily by doing some of the most mundane and undistinguished jobs with an incredibly happy heart. We are thankful for their work, as camp couldn’t run without these joyful souls on staff.
3. Kids who need the most love will often ask for it in the most unloving of ways.
We’ve all had at least one camper that asks a lot of questions, misbehaves during Bible Study, or does the exact opposite of everything we’ve asked. However, it’s when we take the time to learn these campers’ stories that we learn that they are just kids and they need to be loved just like our Savior loves us, even when we mess up.
2. Camp is the only place where we are allowed to truly be ourselves.
Camp is where we learn about who we are, unattached from the standards of this world. We face our fears, try new things, challenge our boundaries, and accept who the Creator has made us each to uniquely be. We learn to be self-forgetful as we attempt to teach these campers to look to their Creator for their own self-worth. By the end of the week, the joyful noise is ear shattering and beautiful.
1. “… apart from me, you can do nothing.”
Each and every summer, we’re reminded not to rely on our own strength but to look to the Father for His grace and encouragement. He reminds us in John 15:5 that "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Our ultimate goal in the summer is to see kids come to know the Lord for, sometime, the first time in their life. When we, as staff, remain in Him, He will plant, water, or sprout His seeds, and His name will be glorified.
This weeks Devotional was written by our Next Level Women's Director, Stephanie Grabbitt.