As one who never went to camp herself, you may be asking yourself how I became so engrossed with camp life. Well I’m so glad you asked!
My camp life began during the summer of 2012; it was the summer before my senior year of high school. I didn’t have much planned for the summer, but generally enjoyed volunteering. When I heard SpringHill Camps were coming to my high school and were looking for high schoolers to volunteer, I decided to go for it.
I arrived at training on the Sunday afternoon before camp and learned about the SHX – the SpringHill Experience – as well as other basic rules, do’s and don’ts, etc.
I was excited for the week to begin, but still didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. Or just how much my life was going to change.
I volunteered for the week as a CIT (Counselor-in-Training) for two counselors, Matthew and Beth. Still remember them by name and the impact that they made on me my first week with SpringHill.
After a long, tiring, yet fun-filled and overall awesome week, I found myself being recruited for the following week of camp (by Abby – THANK YOU Abby!). You see, the team was headed to a neighboring location; their next stop was in Carmel at Northview Church.
I was excited, honored, and humbled that I was allowed and asked to be a counselor the following week. After all, I had only been a CIT volunteer the week before. Was I even qualified?!
It took four out of the five days of the next week for me to get all of my paperwork done, but by the end of the week I was officially camp staff.
The first day of me being a counselor was so tiring and yet so rewarding. I loved the position of leadership I was in, I loved the campers on my team, and I was blessed to have a co-counselor that I already knew from my school.
The first evening after camp I came home exhausted and knew I would need to pace myself in order to make it through the week.
Thursday after camp and tear-down happened, we had our counselor party which, because it was the last week of camp, consisted of not only camper awards, but a talent show as well. I was part of the team.
Alas, Friday and the closing rally and the mini rallies came and went all too quickly. Soon enough, we were packing up and I was headed home, but not before I got to witness a beautiful sunset. I nearly cried. The Lord had blessed me in unimaginable ways the previous two weeks and I truly knew of His love that He lavished on me.
Senior year began and summer and camp were unfortunately in the past until the senior class went on our senior class retreat to the overnight location of SpringHill Camps in Seymour. I was excited to be traveling to the campus of the camp that I had worked for and to get a feel for it.
In short terms, I fell in love. The time I spent there was amazing and I felt at home. I was happy and content. There was something awe-inspiring about the place.
The photo to the right was snapped of me bright and early one morning when I was all smiles for being at camp.
Walking around the campus I kept asking myself if I could see myself here in the future. The answer was yes.
Graduation occurred and I had the plan finally made to go to IUPUI in the fall to study Journalism. What a relief. I was excited to graduate and excited about the thought of returning to SpringHill for the summer. It didn’t seem like a good fit for me to work the summer – the one break I had – after a crazy and stressful senior year. I was graciously agreed with to work for only four weeks for the Indy day camps team again with Tony.
Every week I was at camp, I was loving it, and every week I was gone, I missed it. I knew I’d be back.
With freshman year of college under my belt, I couldn’t wait to come back to camp. Part way through my freshman year, I had a leadership interview with Eric and was offered a leadership position as an Area Director.
When my contract came via email, I casually opened it with a neutral mindset, not expecting something great to happen. There, part way in my kitchen and part way in my living room, standing at my Dad’s counter, I became an Area Director for Indy day camps’ brand-spanking-new team with Eric as director.
I was excited. Ecstatic. Blown away. Couldn’t wait.
The rest of my freshman year crept by and summer couldn’t come soon enough.
Eventually I was headed down to Seymour for leadership training with my luggage for four weeks in tow. I had never been away from home/gone from my family for that long before, but was excited for the challenge and the adventure.
I finally made it down to Seymour after getting Sundae’s Ice-Cream in Lawrence one final time with my Mom.
As soon as I got on SpringHill’s campus, I was home.
Popsicles and genuine hospitality greeted me. I got my name badge, prayed with Res Staff, and moved in. And so it began.
Leadership training rocked. It was great working with the other ADs getting to know camp and getting to know each other better.
The counselors finally arrived and it was amazing getting to know all of them and their stories.
Illness struck, but the Lord was there to provide with loving and comforting fellow staff members to help me through.
After being in Seymour for three weeks, we were finally off site and onto Kokomo, our first host of the summer.
I started in a host home owned by one of the sweetest and caring families; my host Mom was crazy hospitable and their daughter was crazy in love with us girls staying there (see photo to the right). It is awesome that families will give up their time, energy, and resources to bring strangers into their home all for the furthering of the Kingdom.
After week one of camp, I was able to come home and sleep in my own bed before the following seven weeks of camp took place.
I love how I got to minister to each of the individuals in my area. I loved treating them with goodies and gifts.
I love how I was able to prep for camp-related events and staying organized throughout the summer. I love how my communication skills were tested.
I love how my discipline in regards to campers was tried and improved throughout the course of the summer – from Essence week one to Malachi week eight.
I loved staying in the 5,000 mansion with several other girls on the team (that’s where the photo to the left was taken).
I loved the sense of community that the Indy day camps team two brought me.
I loved being on leadership and getting to know Micah, Kent, and Molly deeply (and Emily!). I loved the friendships that I developed and hold to this day.
I love how I was stretched, challenged, broken down, and built back up. I love how God was on my side and with me every step of the way, from the skits to the planning, to the discipline, to the morning meetings, to the counselor parties, to the mini-sermons, to higher ground; from training to week eight of camp, He was by my side. I never had to do anything alone.
I love camp and I love that God has used camp ministry to reveal Himself not only to the campers we encounter, but to me as well.
I’m so excited that my camp story is not finished being written…