So I have just concluded the first week of working at Camp Carl. For my friends who don’t know much about it: Camp Carl is a Christian camp located in Ravenna, OH. My official position is Recreational Specialist. I teach archery, facilitate large group activities, facilitate team building activities, teach nature, teach crafts, along with the typical camp counselor responsibilities. I worked here last year as well. Only then I was an Archery Specialist (and I must admit I am sad to be missing out on more archery this year- but I plan on honing my skills in all of the areas where I am placed; hopefully working my way up to something more…). I work with teen campers primarily, but also teach the younger ones as well.
This week was a bit chaotic, being the first week and all. The bugs are still being worked out of the system, slowly but surely.
I am in cabin F.O.T.U. (the meaning of which I am under oath not to reveal). My two co-counselors, Hannah and Sarah, and myself had a small cabin of 6 girls. Not bad for the first week, the girls got on well together. A couple were awfully quiet, but all opened up about themselves. These girls have such hard lives; broken families, parents in jail, attempts at suicide, self-guilt. How they can survive I do not know. My life seems like a walk in the park. I have parents who love me and wonderful siblings; I have grown up in the comfort and security of a Christian household. These girls live in self-doubt and insecurity. Camp might be the only place they feel safe, if only for a week. The only spot of sun in a dark world.
Our goal is to love on theses kids as much as we can, while we can. I have seen Christ move in the lives of these girls. Only He can carry us through our times of darkness and only He is strong enough to protect us from the world we live in.
Camp can be life changing. I know this because it changed my life. I have been going to camp since the fourth grade. When I was younger I went because it was fun; I could be myself at camp. School has always oppressed my personality in that I become overly focused on getting the grade I want and living towards the goal of perfection in that area to the point where I was irritating my nerves raked my life. I know a lot of people can testify to that fact. Up until my junior year in high school I was academically oriented all the way. But it happened one summer at camp, around when I was twelve years old that my counselor asked the simple question of “How is your walk with Christ going?”. I don’t remember what I told her, probably some lie about how I try to read my Bible every week and pray at every meal. But internally it really got me questioning why my walk isn’t stronger. Since then it has been a back and forth struggle to keep myself attached to God. There have been times when we are two peas in a pod and there have been time when I have felt like I am across the universe from Him. I know though that He has been with me faithfully, even when I have my eyes shut. As I come back to camp I want to ignite that fire in my campers, to put their relationship with Christ into gear.
It is frightening and intimidating and challenging and I love it. Leaving camp last year, I was on the biggest spiritual high. I was reading my Bible daily (for real this time). And was on top of finding the best church on campus. But as the year went on, I stumbled and faultered and completely face-planted. The independence of college got to me, confidence took me places I probably shouldn’t have gone. Fashion and relationships ruled my life, not God. I knew He was there the entire time, but chose to pretend He wasn’t. I lost my step and took a 180 degree turn. It was as if I fell off the top of my mountain and to the depths of the sea. With the end of college this year, I have surfaced and am struggling back on the narrow path. Which is not the ideal place to be, leading campers and all. But God will lead me in His way. He has given me more experiences this last year than ever before, I see now in order to relate to my campers. And I cannot wait to get back in the game. Life may shake me, but my Foundation is firm and won’t let me down.
I am going into this summer ready to be stretched and broken if need be. I want to make that life-changing impact. Christ, help me in this. To serve you is what I desire.
The summer has begun, the heat is on, and hopefully I will be able to meet up with everyone back home on the weekends. If not check in for updates!