To say that my summer has been hot, hard, trying and long would all be an understatement. Haha, it is amazing, truly amazing that ANYONE ever comes back to be a summer camp counselor again. I mean, this past summer I was pushed so hard that I literally hit the point of exhaustion and had to do nothing but sleep for a full day. It was a frightening time, especially because that has never happened to me before. Doing that is just so draining physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I don’t know if anyone realizes just how difficult it is to tell twenty other people what to do. Or to deal with arguments as silly as “everyone hates me because they said this one thing I did was annoying.” It would be insane for anyone to come back after an entire summer of that.
But I did.
You see, yeah. It sucks. A lot of the time. It just does. BUT, there are few other jobs in the world that allow a nineteen or twenty year old to do as much good as I have these past two summers. Literally, church camp can change lives. I know it has changed mine. In fact, almost my entire worldview and faith are based around two things: camp and mission trips. I know for a fact that I impacted children in ways I will never know. In profoundly positive ways, I hope. ‘Cause that’s what camp does. Or at least mine. I have never been anywhere else where the love of God was more evident.
And camp has continued to be a place where I grow. I have gone from being a great counselor to being a leader. I have learned how to instruct children and not just punish them. I have learned how to have patience as large as an ocean and love as deep as the sea. I have learned that EVERY child, and perhaps more wonderfully, every PERSON, contains within them the most glorious and wonderful light. And I have watched how parenting nurtures or stunts the growth of that light. I have watched what happens when kids in poverty are left to their own guidance for their upbringing.
And most powerfully, I let the geeky child shine for a week. I let those at the bottom of the social ladder, experience what it is like to be a leader. And I heard the words “I’ll miss you” from children I wish I could take home and raise myself. Because I know what it is they are capable of and I watch that be taken away by poor parenting.
Is it worth it? Hell yes. There are few experiences that are worth it that do not push the envelope. What I have learned and what I have done at camp is invaluable. Despite the difficulty. Despite the tears and almost tears. To do good. That is incredible.