The “Camper” Without a Cabin

My name is Jennie, and I work at camp as the Director of Communications and Development. My job is mostly based in the office and on the road, but during camp, I try to hang out and do some camp things. After all, campers have a way of teaching and showing adults things that sometimes we have long forgotten.

This is what happened last week when I decided to spend part of the day being a camper. I woke up with every intention of hanging out with Wilderness for breakfast. I walked up the hill with my two dogs to find the whole camp sound asleep. I was very early for breakfast. So I hit the Lowe trail for a morning hike…and got lost. The Lowe trail is not often used and is a little hard to follow in spots. I’ve been romping around in these woods for about 15 years now, so I knew I could easily find my way home. The time I spent lost in the woods quickly turned into time with God focused on guidance and direction. Sometimes in life, the path we are supposed to journey down is obvious, and we walk confidently and quickly into the future. At other times, we can’t necessarily see where the path goes, and that can cause stress, anxiety and worry. We either rely on ourselves and run through thorns and brambles or we cry out to God for help. Sometimes, like I found in the woods that morning, while we think we are lost, we are literally standing on the next rock that lines the path. This verse came to mind:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. -Proverbs 3:5-6

Later that day, after finding my way back to the trail and out of the woods, I met twelve campers in two hours. It was Thursday, days after campers have bonded together, met new friends, and already have inside jokes. But as I joined some Jr. High campers at Aquatic, three of them struck up a conversation about my dog, their week, and their excitement about playing on the Aquagon (pictured above). Later on a paddleboard, I gave some tips to a camper who was interested but skeptical. I gave her my board and helped her get started. After that, I headed up to the blacktop, where I was quickly drafted as the new pitcher in a whiffle ball batting competition with Teen Hope.

To all of these campers, I was a stranger. I didn’t have a cabin or a living group. I hadn’t been around for camp bonding. They saw me attending the activities by myself and immediately wanted to be my friend.

This is summer camp. Summer camp is finding God lost in the woods and making twelve new friends in two hours. Summer camp is knowing you’ll never be left out—that you’ll always be accepted as part of the group. Summer camp is feeling loved, by God and others, through all the moments of your day, big and small.

We are three weeks into camp, but it’s not too late to register. If you or your child thinks fun activities, the Aquagon, or new friends sounds like a good way to spend a week, check out our camp schedule. We’ll see you at the ‘Shore.