Preparing for Camp

One week from now I will be working at a Christian summer camp for about a month. I could not be more excited, but am also extremely nervous.

I know this camp does incredible things and changes kids’ lives. I am so ready to be a part of that. I love spending my time helping students grow as people and in their relationships with Christ. I am also ready to meet some other college kids who are passionate about serving and loving on some kiddos. I can’t wait to build some incredible friendships. I am also excited to grow in my own relationship with Christ. Some time disconnected from everything and focused on camp is much needed after the semester I had.

However, I am also apprehensive. This is a totally new experience. Many of the college students who staff the camps have been going since they were campers themselves. I am nervous about trying to learn everything and find my place. New experiences are always a bittersweet excitement. Being gone so long is also going to be new. I have never gone so long away at camp and unable to talk to my family and friends. I know it will be a good opportunity to re-center some of my priorities and thoughts, but I will miss them dearly.

In the end, the excitement outweighs the apprehension.

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As I am prepping for camp, I am praying a lot for the time to come. It’s important to be in the right mindset when my actions will be impacting young lives I will be spending time with. Here’s how I’ll be praying and how you can join me:

  • For the kids:
    • That they will come in with open hearts
    • That they will meet Jesus
    • That they will build friendships that last a lifetime
    • That they will find peace they may not find at home
    • That they will find rest and be ready to go back to busy lives at home
  • For the staff:
    • That we will be flexible
    • That we will allow God to speak through us
    • That we will pour into each other so we can pour into the campers
    • That we will also meet Jesus and grow in Him
    • That we will build relationships that push us toward Christ continuously
    • That we will overcome tiredness and serve with our full hearts

This is my last blog before camp, but I can’t wait to share what a month at camp is like and all of the incredible things I learn.

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Hold On Tight

My favorite thing about going to camp is the relationships you either make there, or ones you came in with that you strengthen. Camp friends are the best kind of friends. They see you when you’re out of your element and have your guard down. You are the best version of yourself at camp, and so you get to know really incredible people.

The last night of Student Council camp was always hard emotionally. For some reason your council for the week became family. Everyone gathered around the pond and lit candles and shared stories and memories. Then we put arms around each other and sang camp songs like Stand By Me and Tiny Bubbles. The whole night was about reflecting on the week and how we grew. It was also about realizing that it’s people who make you grow, not camp.

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My last church camp as a camper was shortly after graduation. We had a senior class at our church that numbered close to 60 people, but we were all each others’ closest friends. We had been through several years of camp and community groups together. We had dated each other, gone on road trips with each other, and been there for each other on a daily basis. The last night of camp was the seniors’ gift to the kids below us. Every year they present the Gospel in a different way. We walked them through stations that resembled the last hours of Jesus’ life. This was really special because it was our final thing together.We all gathered together before hand to have communion as a class with the leaders who had been with us from the beginning. There were lots of tears. They were for joyful memories but also for the pain of splitting up. This was the last time we were all in the same place.

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As my school year is coming to an end I can’t help but compare it to the end of camp.This semester was the hardest semester I will have to go through they say. I had a class that took all of my time and energy. I got physically ill from how much stress this class put on me. I have always found success pretty easily in life, and this semester knocked all of that confidence right out of me.

Something spectacular did come out of the semester though. I gained some phenomenal friendships. I went through a very difficult class, and so did a lot of other amazing people. We saw each other at our most stressed out and messed up. We also celebrated together because though our victories seemed small to others, we understood how big they were. These are the people I am going to be with for the rest of my undergraduate career, and I don’t mind one bit.

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I also figured out what people in my life really care about me and are in it for the long haul. I was a disaster this semester, both physically and mentally. I struggled to find joy in every day. The people who were by my side through this and encouraged me are the people I want by my side through the rest of my life. I am incredibly thankful for my family and the friends that kept me from completely falling to pieces.

What I’ve learned from camp (some of my happiest and most victorious memories) and from this semester (some of my hardest and most discouraging memories) is that you’ve got to hold on tight to the people who were there. Hold on to the people who will celebrate with you and also the ones that will sit silently by you while you’re sad.

And if you’re lucky enough to have people who can do both, keep them around forever.

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