Fall has enfolded us in a warm patchwork quilt of ruby vine maples and golden larches against an evergreen sea. The piercing blue ceiling sparks pensive moments to reflect, a chance to inhale more deeply and process the blur of summer, a season that often leaves me gasping for breath.
The details of running a summer camp—summer staff, campers, bible studies, nature activities, adventures, crafts, campfire, speakers, games, s’mores, worship, and so much more—is an overwhelming venture. How do you process the enormity of it all?
The foremost question for me is, “Were our campers physically, emotionally, and spiritually cared for to the best of our abilities?” The effectiveness of camp is that it pushes kids outside of their comfort zones, beyond normal boundaries. But, did we manage a good balance of push AND praise? Each camper has different limitations that are to be respected. While merely tying into a belay rope for one person may be the same as completing the climb for another, each individual should be honored with equal support for their accomplishments
To probe deeper, “Did we take the time and energy to make the spiritual connections of meaningful moments?” These connections are the triggers of camping ministry—providing time and space to relate to one another and to God through experiential learning. Often we can be so focused in the task that we forget the function. The giant swing is more than the thrill of plunging through the air, even more than the lesson of teamwork. What does it mean to trust? Who do you trust in? Do you trust in God? Why or why not? The activities are a mechanism to unfold the deeper levels, making Christ/God/the Holy Spirit more tangible and personal, more understandable.
In the midst of the summer, it is extremely important to not lose sight of the main goal—for campers to encounter a relationship with Christ in a more personal way. The breakthrough of capturing an “aha” moment is the fodder that fuels the flames of ministry.
Rather than trying to catch a thread and hold on to survive next summer, my prayer for my staff and myself is to be rooted in the teachable moments. Cease each opportunity. Be fueled by the eternal.