As a little girl, I was a homebody. Spending the night away from home terrified me, going away for a week of camp never entered my mind!
About 15 years ago, our church joined with a few other churches to provide a close by camp experience for children. It was the first time our boys went to camp and they fell in love with it. That first year, there were 18 campers plus adult chaperones. The camp continued and grew in number each year. One year, I was asked to be a cabin counselor for the girls cabin. Being around a cabin full of girls was quite a new experience for me! I quickly learned about the differences in boys and girls, from their emotions to the simple acts of preparing themselves to go out the door.
Every summer, my boys and I would eagerly go off to camp! Once the boys were too old to be campers, they became junior counselors until they became too busy with work and adult life! Our youngest son is now too old to be a camper and began his adventure of junior counselor.
I keep saying, there is no reason for me to keep going to camp, but every year, I am drawn to it. Having an understanding of a parent nervously allowing her child to go to camp and needing assurance that the child will be watched closely and nurtured to remembering the feelings of insecurity a young girl being thrust in the middle of a group of other girls may have. It is fun to be the bridge that assures the parent and nurtures the children! Through the years, I 've learned that camp is made to be fun and is a time to make memories. It is the one week of the year that I throw away my rigid schedule, my neatness obsession, my serious nature and have fun along with the girls!
This year, that same camp that began with 18 children, now had 109 children, plus many counselors. These sweet girls that began coming years ago, now are almost teenagers, they are worried about how they are perceived, noticing the cute lifeguards and changing into lovely young ladies. And the opportunity stills stands open to encourage them and fill their hearts with good things.
What a blessing to find a once a year week of ministry! Opportunties to bless others are all around us. Camp is a time for others to truly 'do life' with you for a solid week. But as we come and go in our daily lives, those same chances meet us. How will you make an impact on those around you?
Here are the sweet girls of our cabin:
Here are my fellow counselors. There is such joy in serving alongside others!