This week was youth camp. There were some unbelievable obstacles. The camp facilities we used were not exclusive nor Christian. In fact I learned that it has been used for many thing in the past. Back in the 50s it was a Jewish camp. Of course I have no issues with this, but it began changing hands and was used as a Wiccan camp, nudist camp, and general drunken idiot party camp over the years.
Beyond the deep spiritual issues there were many other problems, likely due to the spiritual issues. The camp had gone into disrepair in the past few years and had just been started back up. The cabins and camp kitchen didn’t have water hooked up in April, but we were promised ti would all be ready. We checked back several times and made changes per their promises of “these cabins won’t be ready but these will.”
The week before we found out the kitchen would not be accessible and we would have to make adjustments based on what was available. When we got there, none of the cabins had water. They had a single working shower we could access and porta-potties around the camp. We were promised the showers would be hooked up in the cabins the next day. By noon nothing had happened and we asked the camp manager. He contacted the owner and there was a show down with maintenance, who had not been notified of any of this and the manager, who was good at making promises without following through. The maintenance guys exploded with a fit of yelling cussing, and punching the manager in the face. Sadly, the only students that saw it were mine. Not sad that the other students missed it, but rather that mine had to see it.
They kicked that guy out and brought in a team that rigged up some more showers for us but the incident really put the leadership on edge. We had a meeting to try and decide if we should cancel the camp for the safety of our students. We generally felt that we would be watchful but continue. I had learned about the spiritual background of the camp the previous night so I pushed to increase prayer, specifically spiritual warfare. I stayed at the campfire with one of the other directors that night until very late praying. Tuesday morning we started involving our junior leaders in the prayer and didn’t have any more problems like that.
Some highlights from camp included nearly 70 students from 3 churches, 4 salvations, a dozen or so re-dedications, and a new student leader for my group.
We had a lot of fun, minimal injuries, and most importantly some incredible experiences with God. I don’t know exactly how to describe my position in the camp. I planned the minute to win it games each evening before chapel and I worked closely with our junior leaders, providing spiritual guidance and support. I was a cabin counselor, but our plan was to put the major duties of the counselors in the hands of the junior leaders. They lead the quiet time each day and were largely responsible for their teams throughout the week. The adult leaders organized and backed them up.
The most difficult thing for me was stepping back and letting them do the real “in the trenches” ministry. There would be a powerful altar time and I want to go handle the prayer with the students, but instead I trusted what I, and the other leaders, were hearing from God and stepped back to pray for the student leaders as they prayed with other students.
2 of the 4 students who were saved prayed with student leaders. Almost all of the re-dedications were with the student leaders. The most powerful times were when a group of leaders would be praying with a group of students and I didn’t interfere.
At the end of the week I was amazed to have one of my students asking about being a leader. She has been a Christian for about 6 months and I’ve seen her potential for about 4 months now. I don’t ask students to step into this position but I do watch for them to demonstrate certain attitudes and start encouraging them in those attitudes until they ask to step up. I really wanted this young lady to become part of the leadership team, but I thought it would be a couple more months before she would step up. Honestly I couldn’t be happier though.
I have so much more I want to say about camp, but right now I just need to recover. I had to get this initial recap out there though.