As staff are wrapping up the last week of summer camp this year, I have learned a few things about how the spirit of camp can go with us throughout the rest of the year.
First, we can bring people along with us. Jesus’ example to us of doing ministry alongside others is a big hint that it works. We had incredible camp directors, counselors, and crew leaders that supported each other and staff to accomplish our mission each week of camp. No way was this going to be accomplished by one person.
In addition, campers brought siblings, cousins, neighbors, and friends with them. This clued us in that word of mouth is the best promotion. It can also be an example to us to invite those around us to be part of the life of the church as we follow Jesus. Those students experienced a good thing and wanted to share it with others. I am sure they experienced an extra ounce of joy from sharing this “Good Thing” with others – and we can do the same!
Second, friendships formed/strengthened at camp led to invitations to hang out for more fun elsewhere after the morning camp hours. May we see, too, that our experiences can lead to living in community outside of the church campus. Yes, what the campers did and experienced here was great, but they get to take those relationships (with both the Lord and the other students) out into their “regular” lives – all the time! It’s great that they don’t just have “camp friends”, but friends they can call on in the rest of their context as well. May we see our church family as such – a community with which we can spend our “regular” lives, too!
Last, there were lots of, “See you next year!” and “Thank you for all that you did this summer!” Those are huge takeaways for us! The hope for our collective future together as the people of God, whether the Lord would have that be at summer camp or not, makes me a little teary. Gratitude was profusely expressed as realizations came that all good things, even camp, come to an end. May we all continue to express hope in Jesus and gratitude for what the Lord has done to those around us.
Let’s live the camp life the other 46 weeks of the year!