Each cabin at camp has at least two staff people in it--most of the time, it is one counselor and one counselor in training or CIT. The counselor is college-aged, and the CIT is high school-aged. The counselor stays with the kids all day; leading Bible study, playing games with them, doing adventure activities, going to the lake, and so much more. The counselors do an amazing job, and not that their work is easy, but it's probably what you would picture what working at a summer camp would look like. The CITs, on the other hand, wake the kids up, eat meals with them, have an hour here or there to be with the campers, but that's about it. During the day, they disappear to wash the dishes, clean the bathrooms, fill up water balloons, sweep, weed whack, and do just about every other job at camp.
CITs miss Gold Rush to wash dishes, don't get a lake day, and miss rest hour to clean the KYBOs. When you think about it like this, being a CIT doesn't sound like the best job; but they keep coming back. The CIT position is sought by many and it's common to com back for a second and third summer. I can't even say that I don't understand, because I did it for three summers and am honored and thrilled to be a part of the community again this year as the CIT director.
So what gives?
It helps that the CITs are always a super cool group of people, but it's more than that--it's a choice. They choose joy. These high school students are able to serve joyfully because they are here to serve the Lord. If we live in the truth that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, and we cling to the truth of the gospel, there is always something to celebrate; there is always something to be joyful about. it does not have to be about our earthly circumstance, or the difficulty or the grossness of the work that must be done, but rather the always and forever truth that Jesus is King.
I have had all summer to watch this unfold-- to reflect on my time as a CIT and to watch another generation of servant-hearted young men and women work in community and serve with minimal complaining and an abundance of celebration. Camp is without a doubt a special place-- but it does not have to be the only place that I or anybody else practices choosing joy. Camp is not the common denominator in the heart of joyful service the CITs have-- it is whom they are serving. It is their heart for the gospel. My challenge and prayer for myself and for you is that God may reveal ways in which we can take all parts of our lives, look at them through the lens of the Gospel, and celebrate.
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1: 2-4
This weeks devotional was written by Annie Pompelia, our Women's CIT director.