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Archive for September 4th, 2016

canoe-dock

Dear Summer Camp Director,

Seven weeks of our teenage son being away at summer camp equaled a savings of approximately $600 in groceries, (a very conservative estimate), hundreds of litres (gallons) of hot water showers and many kilowatts of electricity to power his computer, phone and razor (ok, so he probably wouldn’t have used that razor even if he were home).

The summer of 2016 marked the ninth year that our son went to summer camp. Whether it was year one, at seven years of age, when he went for just a week, or this past summer, when he came home only once in his seven weeks there, I miss him each and every time.

But I wouldn’t have summer any other way!

Often I have wondered, do you know, do you really know, how significant and important what you do and provide is in the growth and development of those who attend?

Now that the summer is over, you are exhausted from the inside out and you find yourselves scanning job opportunities in any area BUT camp ministries, let me share what your blood, sweat and tears have produced.

When our son was just a little guy who came to camp for a week each summer, there were two things he would tell us about; how great his cabin councillors were, and how he had dedicated his life to Christ … EVERY year!

Those older teens were heroes in the eyes of our son. I remember once being at an event centre, mid winter, and this teenager was yelling his name. When our son turned around to where the voice was coming, his eyes shone as though he was noticed by a celebrity. He grew up desiring to be like them.

This summer camp has always been the place of spiritual re-set. Each summer he was reminded who he is, in Christ, and was given the opportunity to accept the challenge to start from where he was, through the grace that God gives so generously.

As he grew, more opportunities were available at summer camp. Opportunities to serve, and give back. He spent a couple of years involved as work crew, doing anything from cleaning toilets to chopping wood, to serving in the dining room. Through this work, he was mentored by ‘the old guys’ (retired men who volunteered at the camp) and by staff who oversaw the work and the attitudes of the teens. His stories were of the people, and of what he learned of Christ through those people.

Last year he got to participate in a L.I.T. (Leadership in Training) program. Two weeks of intentional learning about what it was to be a leader, through study and practise … head and hand learning. Some of what he learned is still pinned to his bedroom wall, as a reminder of what a leader is, what a leader does. He came home inspired, motivated to be a leader in whatever capacity required, from cleaning toilets to counselling in a cabin.

He has been free at camp, free to be the individual that is part of the whole, called summer camp. He has shared stories of great speakers (who he now calls friends and mentors), activities on land and water, challenges … from the behaviours of campers and to his own behaviours, and tales of Christ working in and through the people who are, camp.

Through all nine years, camp has always been about the people and being reminded that Christ loves and died for him.

I am still parenting this hairy beast called my son, but I couldn’t have done it without your camp, without you. You have been the hands and feet of Christ, teaching him how to devote his hands and feet to Christ.

So, close that job search website, and receive the grateful, heartfelt praise from this humbled mom. You are not doing this great work alone, you are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.

I am a thankful mom, and I am not alone in my thanks for all you do.

 

 

 

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