Summer is a busy time in the world of children’s ministry! There are lots of activities going on in and around the church and many of us tend to get busy. We pack up and head to the lake, go out of town on family vacations, and get our kids to camp! Summer King, our FaithWorks! administrative assistant and nursery team leader, just got home from a few days at Camp Lakewood with 13 of our FaithWorks! kids! She went as a mini-camp counselor and spent her days with eight girls in her cabin. Here’s a glimpse at her experience:
I left for camp volunteer training last Saturday and had in the back of my mind that I’d be writing this post, so I made sure to keep mental notes of my experience. I have to admit that even though I blog about my family, I was worried that I wouldn’t have any idea what to write. I was wrong! I lost myself, and the mental note idea, in the fun of Camp Lakewood.
Yes, fun! Actually, it was really fun! I know some of you are thinking I’m nuts, three days with eight little girls (none of which are my own daughter!), how could that be fun? Let me ask you though: When was the last time you sang silly repeat after me songs, really loudly? When was the last time you walked through the woods with a flashlight? Or played silly games? Or got frosting smeared on your face and froot loops thrown at it until they stuck? Oh, wait, that last one may not sound like fun, but it was! It all was.
I knew it would be fun, but first I went though two days of training, prior to any campers showing up, where we talked about all the things that could to wrong. I was a bit worried. I read in my Counselor Handbook that my fun and comfort would not be a priority. I was admittedly worried. I had 10 years on the next oldest counselor. And I was worried. Here’s the thing… I should’ve known better. I teach kids that our Lord equips us for what He calls us to do. I teach that, but this week I lived it. I had fun and I wasn’t a priority. I was hot, sticky, wet, and messy and it was all fun.
It was fun and it was our Lord in action. Our Lord in action everywhere I looked! People laughing, playing, swimming, singing, and dancing together! Girls volunteering to teach a new song to new friends in their cabin. Girls encouraging each other to zip line, get messy, and even catch frogs. People, little and big, teaching each other about the love of Christ. Not just talking about His love, but teaching it, in a real way.
Girls in my cabin prayed for each other, which I think was my favorite thing that happened at Camp. I bet the first time I prayed out loud, to any one other than my own two kids, was just a few years ago. These girls in my cabin were seven years old and I had to limit it to two girls saying prayers at a time! They were not shy about praying out loud! I know that sounds bad, we were at church camp, and I limited prayers, what?! But anyway here’s what I was hearing: one little girl prayed “Dear Jesus, I hope everyone had a fun day. I love my friends and they love me. Amen”
These girls prayed from their hearts in a place where they felt secure in their love of God and their acceptance of exactly who they are.
Wow! These girls love Jesus. That’s it. Period. They love Him, themselves, and their friends, and they don’t care who knows it or what they think about it. This is what I want to remember from camp. Yes, it was fun, but this was the real pearl.
These girls taught me this simple truth of God. Love Him, myself, and others. That’s it. Period.
If you ever get the chance to go to Camp Lakewood with kids, GO! (Here’s a video of my time at camp. If you or your child is interested in going, let me know, I can help you get there.) Because it’s not about you and I think we can all use that little reminder from time to time. It’s Jesus. His love for us and ours for Him. I bet you’d come away with something different than I did, but I know you’d love it.
My girls screamed as they stepped off the zip line, “I LOVE CAMP LAKEWOOD!!!” Well, I do, too!