Every year at the end of the camp season I find myself reflecting on how inspiring camp is to me. Of course, the content of the curriculum, the keynotes, the worship and the building of community are inspirational to the campers and counselors. One of the most common remarks on the camper evaluation forms is “I can’t wait until next year.” The people, both youth, and adults, who participate in our camping program each year love being there, having their spirits enlivened and getting to experience God in the beautiful setting of the camp.
My inspiration, however, comes from something a bit different. I am awed by the adults who give their time and talent to serve as directors, keynoters, counselors and nurses so that we can have a camping program. I think that many of the people in our churches take for granted how much effort it takes to put a camp together. The site team must recruit directors for 11 separate camps at Wakon’ Da-Ho and 8 at Kum-Ba-Ya. These directors must recruit counselors, keynoters, and nurses for every camp. Many of these folks participate multiple times over the summer. I know of at least three people who were present for 4 separate camps. Without these folks, there is no church camp. I give thanks for them every day of the camping season.
There is another thing worth noting about the people who volunteer to participate in the camping program. There are hundreds of young people that count their time at camp as one of the highlights of their summer vacation. I hear them often say that camp is their favorite place on earth. Occasionally I’ll ask them this question, “If next year you had the option of coming to camp with people you’ve never met, or spending a week at your school with your camp friends and counselors, what would you choose?” They always say they would want to be with their camp friends.
Our camps are special because of the experiences people share when on the grounds and because the campus evokes memories of those moments. Yet, it’s the people who put so much effort into making the camp a pleasant and powerful time in young Christian’s lives that really make camp what it is. Camp people are special. They inspire me and they light up the lives of hundreds of young disciples (put a capital D there if you want) every year. The regional staff works at making sure the directors and counselors have a safe and well-stocked campground. That is the easy part. It’s the volunteer staff that shows up, loves the kids and each other and have the passion required to make camp the greatest place on earth for our campers. God bless them all.