When you work and live in the camping ministry, your summers don't consist of lazy days lounging by the pool or relaxing in air-conditioned comfort. You don't get July 4th off to enjoy picnics with friends or fireworks by the lake. I admit, sometimes I'm just a wee bit envious of people who get to spend their summers with their families this way. But I'm not complaining...because our summer is made up of...
the sound of kids laughing and joking together as they head back to their cabins
the smell and crackle of the campfire as kids and families alike share how their lives have been changed over the last five days
afternoons at the pond, watching people get launched off of the Blob and listening to kids shout or scream as they come down the waterslide
the sound of voices being lifted up together to praise God in the chapel
three deliciously home-cooked meals per day, personally delivered by none other than my heroes, the Kitchen Staff.
uproarious laughter following some pretty dumb jokes or stunts (especially during junior high weeks)
sixteen-hour work days for some of the staff (twenty-four hour days for the counselors!)
tears at the amazing ways God works in campers' lives each week, as they get up in front of everyone on Saturday morning and make a public commitment to live for God
competitive shouts echoing across the camp as the kids play frequent camp games
hours of quality time with the t-shirt press (thankfully, I have an assistant this year- you're awesome, Jill!!)
the inevitable homesick campers
a sense of purpose as we realize we're fulfilling the ministry God has given us each day
relief as an exhausting summer camp season draws to a close
sadness as our fellow staff members, who we have grown closer to than we could have ever imagined, take off to lead their own separate lives again