This summer I was a cabin leader at Pine Ridge Bible Camp. It was the most fun, fulfilling, and one of the toughest summers of my life. Here are a few lessons a summer at camp has taught me.
1. I Was Like That Too
I was constantly reminded this summer of how I was when I was younger. I had campers who didn’t listen, didn’t sing, didn’t obey, picked on others, and got angry really easily. I had countless talks with my “kids” about how they should respond to a situation the right way. My dad used to always say, “You can be happy, sad, glad, or mad.” Looking back, I realize how I really didn’t listen to him and just kept doing the same stupid things over and over again, right after he’d talk with me about it. Sorry dad. Now our positions have switched and I’m being the “mean” parent to the naughty kid. I felt like my dad was the villain but now I realize how he was molding me for when I’d have to do the same thing to my kids. So, thanks dad.
When I was younger, I went to youth group to hang out with my friends. When my small group leader asked if we had any questions, my first question was, “Are we almost done?” So, Pastor Ian, I apologize for all the agony I caused you. Now I’m in your spot, trying to get all the kids to listen during devos and chapel. Thank you for having so much patience and grace with me. I pray I can have the same patience with my own campers.
2. The Bible Is The Only Book We Need
I love reading books. Especially biographies and Christian books. You might call me an addict. I’m constantly going to Christian book stores and writing down every new book so I can buy/read it later. But over this past summer I have realized that I was putting all those good Christian books above the only Book that really matters: the Bible. Our theme at camp this year is Navigate, and how we can use the Bible to navigate us through life (Psalm 119:105). Now, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with reading books besides the Bible. In fact, I highly encourage it. But we should never replace the Bible with any other literature, as I found myself doing.
3. God Is Not Done Molding Me
My campers have taught me more about myself this summer than I’ve taught them, it feels like. They have shown me I need more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (The Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22). I have gotten angry at my campers when they couldn’t memorize the theme verse after we’d been working on it for half an hour. I didn’t always listen when they were talking because they had been talking my ear off all week. I yelled at them when they got to easily distracted by God’s creation. I’m not saying I’m going to be perfect. But, God’s still molding me.
4. Food at Camp is. . . . Not Gourmet
Truth. It’s not a 5-star diner. It’s a summer camp. With a budget. And a bunch of pretty picky kiddos. And food allergies. And not the best taste. But aside from that, the monkey bread is to die for.
So, in a nutshell, that is what I’ve learned at Pine Ridge Bible Camp. I’m sure if I had more time I could list many more things I’ve learned. I guess you’ll just have to talk to me to get the rest. But if you are ever wondering what to do with your summer, spend it working at a Bible camp. You will never regret it. And the best part is, no one there does it for the money. If you want to make big bucks, work anywhere besides a summer camp. But if you love God and His little ones and you want the most life-changing summer of your life you should DEFINITELY work at a Bible camp (there’s my advertising two-cents).