It is amazing getting to watch campers, staff, families, and community members sharing in the joy of camp life. I didn’t get a camp experience when I was growing up, so seeing it now, I understand the incredible benefit, blessing, and power of camp! You have individuals of every walk of life coming from different backgrounds and faith journeys. Some young, some old. Some quiet, some loud. Some maturing believers, some who have never heard the Gospel. The reason this variety and assortment of people works so well together is that the goal of this particular camp and ministry is to create a space and environment where people feel safe, loved, and cared for. A space to meet Jesus wherever they are at in life.
A major component of this is comfortability. It’s a wave hello as you pass by a group of young campers. It’s a silly dance that you make up on the spot to let those campers know it’s ok to laugh at yourself. It’s finding the small, almost insignificant moments, and turning them into moments of wonder that create an atmosphere of comfortability, safety, and a willingness to learn and grow.
Camp becomes a space where speaking up, standing out, being vulnerable, listening, and learning becomes not only “ok” but admired and desired. And once that barrier is broken, campers are more able to engage in these present moments that make camp special.
Last night, the campers of Overnight Camp experienced the Crosswalk. While we have been doing this for the past 12 summers, each time it happens, I am overwhelmed at the level of intensity and purpose behind this passionate drama. The last two days here have been preparing the necessary space for these campers to experience Jesus in a powerful and visual way.
As the years go by, I understand more and more the importance of this camp flow that is sometimes so well integrated into the programming, that I don’t even realize it’s happening. Fun moments, silly moments, and hilarious moments at the very beginning of camp become the doorway to vulnerability and openness that is required to have a life-changing experience the rest of the week. On staff, we all have a part to play in this flow. From serving in the kitchen, to cleaning up the grounds, to being the silliest, most fun counselor ever, everyone on staff has the opportunity to assist in creating this camp space. For me, it’s an honor and privilege to have been able to do so the last 11 summers. And it only gets better from here.