This past summer I have been working at a Christian summer camp as a senior cabin counselor. At camp I work harder than I ever thought was possible, but it’s all worth it.
I was never the kid that went to summer camp. I stayed home with my mom and siblings and did fun activities with them, but sleepaway camp was never a part of my childhood summers. My sister worked at a summer camp for at least five summers as a lifeguard, but for whatever reason, I was never interested in working at camp. This is strange because I always have loved working with kids. Maybe I didn’t want to work at camp because I didn’t want to work with my sister and have to be constantly measuring up to her standards. I think that the main reason I didn’t want to work at a summer camp was that I had a huge lack of self-confidence, especially with my ability to lead children. I always used to think that other people could do the job way better than I could and it hurt me in the long run.
I was approached by a trusted friend in my life during the winter season while I was still at school. This friend of mine struck up a conversation while at the dinner table in our school cafeteria about a summer camp that she had been working at and how the director was looking for more staff members. She went on to tell me that I should apply to work at camp. I straight up told her no. Haha. You can probably tell where the rest of this story is heading. Anyway, after she told me I should work at camp, the conversation kept coming up. I was starting to think about reasons why I shouldn’t work at camp. I told my friend that if she could give me good reasons to work at camp that I would at least apply. So, my friend gave me reasons, and I held up my end of the deal by praying about it and talking with other trusted people in my life. I finally came to the conclusion that I would send off an application. The director of the camp emailed me shortly after to set up a time for an interview. Towards the end of my interview, the director told me that I had a job if I wanted it and that she would send me the contract later so I could decide. I don’t write that to toot my own horn, but I write that because looking back I can clearly see how God was guiding me and letting me know that I needed to work at camp.
Working at camp has been one of the most stressful and terrifying experiences of my life. Stepping outside my comfort zone in such a dramatic way was scary. However, working at camp has been such a huge blessing in my life. It has taught me confidence when leading children. It has taught me patience. It has also taught me that even when I feel like I have no more energy, no more love to give, no more patience, and no more excitement, that I have the ability to push through. Physically and mentally I have broken boundaries within myself that I didn’t think was possible. Each week of camp has its good times and its bad times but I have been able to work through these times and come out on top.
At this point I am unsure of whether or not I will apply to work at camp again next summer, but the one thing that I can be sure of is that I will forever keep in mind the lessons that I have learned, and the people that have encouraged me along the way.
C’est la vie,
Ps. Never be too scared to step outside your comfort zone.. you won’t regret it!