In Lay Terms

Random Ramblings From a Church Nerd

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I Was Once a Camp Counselor

I understand that the above statement is not that rare of an assertion. Many of us were camp counselors for a stint in high school or college. For about 10 years, people have been throwing around the statistic that 75% of ELCA church leaders got their ministry "start" in camping ministry. Since I am a churchy person and many of my friends are pastors or church leaders, many of us have had some experience with a camp.

Working at a summer camp is a wonderful experience. The pay is low, but they make up for it by feeding and housing you all summer. Usually, the camp staff can get really close and create a special bond. In my experience, I worked at the same camp that I attended as a kid. In fact, I'm one of those kids who goes from being a camper to a sr. high volunteer to SIT to counselor to program coordinator. I climbed the camping ladder, as it were.

When I was the program coordinator, my best friend was the waterfront director and health-care coordinator. She and I have remained close, even though she has moved to SD to live with her husband. We also were joined by another friend who was the worship/music coordinator. The three of us made the Triumvirate (we decided that calling ourselves the Trinity was a little too sac religious). I don't like to brag, but we were good. We kept the camp running. We were entertaining. We all had different gifts that worked well together. It was a good time.

Fast forward about 10 years, and I'm finding out what's wrong with this. We can't seem to see a camp staff without evaluating how good they are. Just yesterday, I talked to my former-health care/waterfront director friend. She now does youth ministry at a church in SD. She left me a depressed message, because her church has a day camp led by a local camp. The called me to tell me they were lifeless. They had no flow or order to what they were doing. It's like they were making it up off the top of their heads. I attempted to talk her through the experience, but I have to admit that I was also frustrated. It seems that these staff had no energy and no plan for how to get through the week.

I say this as I'm preparing to go back to my camp for a few days. They have created a Fine Arts Camp, and I was invited to be a resource person. Another close friend is coordinating the camp, and she's stressing out about it a bit. I'm not sure why so many outsiders are running this camp, but I'm looking forward to pretending that I'm just a simple college student who has chosen to work at this camp for the summer. Of course, it won't be the same. You can't go back. But I want to.

10 Comments:

Blogger David said...

Our oldest child (now 19) is working his first summer as a camp counselor at Lutherock in NC. He is having a great time at the camp where he went as a teenage. I must say that he is quite good at it as well.

10:52 AM  
Blogger P.S. an after-thought said...

Hmmmm, I thought that the picture looked a bit like a big long lake I know of. And then I looked at the camp website. And then I saw the name that comes up when I clicked on your picture. I can't see the picture clearly enough, but I think I've sort of met you, as in "seen you at the camp when you worked there." Which would probably be when my offspring was a camp counselor there.

9:15 PM  
Blogger Ross said...

It's very possible. That's a photo of the camp where I worked (taken from their web page).

9:34 PM  
Blogger P.S. an after-thought said...

My off spring worked there three summers, the first being 1997 I think. I live 7 miles from your camp.

I still get to go there for retreats 2x/year for a non-church event.

All my kids were campers there, so you probably know them too.

10:33 PM  
Blogger Ross said...

OK - I'm starting to figure out who you are. I also worked there from 1995, and 1997-1999. I know that we've met now. I'm getting ready to go back on Saturday!

7:48 AM  
Blogger P.S. an after-thought said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:18 AM  
Blogger P.S. an after-thought said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Ross said...

Yup, you are who I was guessing. I just saw your daughter in February in Tampa.

I do know about the link with the full name. I'm quasi-anonymous, but I'm not too concerned about it. When I promote stuff like this documentary I'm in, I realize that I just blow my anonymity out of the water. I think that most of my readers know me personally anyway, so it's not a big deal.

I'm going to camp to help with fine arts camp, but I'll spend the weekend at my parents before that.

11:13 AM  
Blogger Ross said...

You may also see me on Saturday night, if you are at the worship.

11:44 AM  
Blogger P.S. an after-thought said...

No, I'm lector in church on Sun, so I won't be at camp.

Sounds like a good week. I remember when they used to do that with that one pastor from BR who moved to Cl...

I guess I'll delete that one comment above, not that it matters too much.

It has been strange with blogging. I've "met" people that I have links to in other ways, and come across, by chance, blogs by people from here. Then I always wonder if I should let them know that I read their blog.

1:13 PM  

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