One of my favorite memories as a kid is the feeling I would get when we’d all line up along the road after opening the gate for the pickup trucks with kids and counselors coming to camp. Knowing that we’d done it. We’d worked as hard as we possibly could and we’d pulled it off: camp.
I know those moments shaped me, the hard work and commitment my parents taught us as they strove to share the tool of Christian camping with the country of Mexico. It wasn’t just about kids coming to have fun for a week. It was about learning, and growing, and being molded into God’s image.
It’s a beautiful thing, camp. A chance to learn life-lessons in a safe environment. Ask anyone who’s been to camp: it’s a special place. There’s no judgement. There’s no condemnation. There’s just you and nature and a whole bunch of people who are there right alongside you.
The impact a counselor can make on a kid during a week of camp is astounding. You wouldn’t believe it until you saw it. I grew up seeing it, watching the molding happening. It was a privilege and a responsibility I never took lightly, being a missionary’s kid. Knowing that those kids might not get another chance to be in the position we were offering them. To hear about God. To be loved on. To learn, to let loose, to blossom. Camp is a mighty tool.
But it’s a tool that can only be effective if used properly. That’s where counselor training comes in. Giving young men and women the guidance they need to be able to relate, to communicate, to share with, and to lead their little charges. To equip counselors with skills and knowledge so they can make the greatest impact.
I’ve watched some of my peers grow up to become leaders in their community. When we were young, we had no idea what we were supposed to do with ourselves in the great big world we looked upon. If you ask them now, they’d probably tell you the first time they truly understood leadership, was at camp counselor training.
Camp is an opportunity to be more. Camp is a challenge to do more. Camp is a tool that, when used effectively, can change lives. And it starts with training.
How do you fit into this? The need is great. Take your pick.
Send a group to start the groundwork for a new campsite. Go yourself to minister and reguvinate a missionary family devoting their lives to making a difference. No good at encouragement? That’s cool. Dig some holes and screw some pipes together, instead.
Can’t go? No biggie. Pray for the finances and man-power to supply more camps with activities and facilities. Give a gift to help build a project, fund an activity, or purchase more land for more camps across the world.
Not enough? Consider becoming a missionary with Camps International and start hosting your own counselor trainings. I’ve heard it’s quite rewarding.
Written by Cherith Mitchell,