By: Jennie Dickerson
I have been at Lakeshore in my role as Director of Communications and Development for about nine months now, but my connection to camp goes back to my first summer as a camper in 2002 and my years on summer staff, 2006-2009.
In a lot of ways, starting this position was like coming home, and there is something about coming home. Simple things become familiar comforts. When I was on summer staff here, I used to wake up early on Sunday mornings to try to get to the washing machines first (30 something staff having to wash a week’s worth of sweaty, muddy, shaving cream soaked clothes in a 24 hour turn around was always a feat). Every Sunday, I would get up early, put in the laundry and sit with my journal at the gazebo with a bowl of Lucky Charms. For four summers, that was my quiet time. My time to reflect on the week.
This week, I did laundry at camp for the first time in a while. The previous week had been rough and full or unexpected things that took precedent over laundry, so I brought it to camp. I put it in the wash, poured my bowl of Lucky Charms and headed to the gazebo.
As I looked out over the lake, I started to reflect on the memories of my time here on summer staff and as a camper. I remember my first week as a camper, one of the counselors told me I’d be on staff someday. I believed him and submitted my application four years later. I thought about my favorite scriptures and how I learned all of them at camp. I thought about difficult weeks that I still remember ten years later, and how they taught me grace and patience and not to rely on my own strength. I remembered experiencing truly the power of prayer and knowing that God was close and present in our lives. I remember a conversation with a staff member about the word anamnesis. It’s the Greek word for remember, used especially in the scriptures about the Last Supper. It doesn’t just mean “remember” like recall. It means remember to the point that it changes your life. It’s an active memory. A memory that alters who you are.
I don’t remember quite as much specific theme times, maybe a handful of worships, or even all the funny, goofy things that happen here, but I do remember scriptures that have comforted me, lessons I learned through living in a community of Christians, relationships that have encouraged me and supported me through the years, and the understanding of my place in the world. I remember the work God did through me during my time at camp in such a way that it has changed my life.
Camp is an important place. It is more than just the swimming pool and silly songs; it is the place where faith formation is offered in an age specific manner. In a safe space where youth and young adults can ask questions and learn to be in community with one another. It is a place where God is present and close and shares with His children that He loves them and has a calling for their lives.
If you’re on the fence about what to do this summer, sign up for camp, become a volunteer, apply for summer staff. No matter what your role, you will be changed through God’s ministry here this summer. Years from now, you will still remember to the point that it has changed your life.