One of the questions we get asked sometimes and need to ask ourselves each year is “Do the camp staff get paid?” The answer is no, not really. A few exceptions aside, the camp staff don’t get paid. This summer we had a great number of people coming from all over the place to help at camp. They got a free t-shirt and some candy in the tuck shop. Their accommodations and meals are covered, but that’s pretty much it. So why do people come? It’s encouraging to know that the staff who are at camp are there because they’ve put God’s will first in their life. What’s also exciting is working side by side with a whole group of people who chose to give up 6 weeks of their summer to serve God. They could be working at job where they get paid, they could be spending time with their friends and families. So we get to spend the summer with people whose first mission is to serve God and put Him first. That’s so amazing! Then we got to spend summer sharing that passion for Jesus with 236 campers! God is good. There are weeks where we don’t have enough counselors to accept all the kids who want to come to camp! One week we had a waiting list that was over 20 names, which is an indication that there are lots of people who want to come to a place where they can have fun, be safe and be a kid.
“I want to come and learn more about God. It’s hard to follow God in my community, people don’t care about that kind of stuff.”
This is a typical desire among youth in the communities we work with. It is really hard to follow God when there is no place to go for anyone, young or old, who want to be discipled, learn to pray and read the bible together. This summer at camp we ran a program called SALT. Serving And Leadership Training. 26 young people ages 13 and up came to camp who wanted more. They wanted more than just what their friends were doing. They wanted more than just to live for themselves. One young man came because he felt God wanted him to come to camp instead of doing a student work placement in his home community. “I had these two things to choose from. Either I stayed at home and worked, and didn’t change anything about my lifestyle, or I could come to camp and learn about following God. Now I’m here.” During the SALT week, students were given portions of scripture to learn, memorize and study in private and as a group. They learned how to lead evening devotions in cabins, how to help with cooking and doing the dishes. They helped on the maintenance crew with some projects around camp like cutting the grass, splitting firewood and repairing doors and such. Once they had an opportunity to see what it’s like to serve God at camp and at home, they had an opportunity to do it. For some it wasn’t what they wanted, so they went back home. Others wanted it, but couldn’t let go of their other lifestyle, one of serving self. Some weren’t ready for it, but there were 12 who graduated at the end of the training and came back to work as staff for the remainder of the summer. The best part is, God is working in their lives still. They are in a community from where campers come, which means there are even more opportunities to share the hope they have in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Pray with us as we continue to work and serve with these young people. Pray that we would all have the wisdom that comes from above when we need to make a tough decision, and the boldness to never back down when faced with the darkness that surrounds.