rebelling against low expectations

What Every Camper (And Camp Worker) Needs to Know This Summer

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The air is growing heavy with humidity, the mosquitoes are biting, and the glaring sun is making temperatures soar… at least, where I live.

This is an exciting precursor to anyone who has ever been to (or worked at) a summer camp before.

Fun is just around the corner, right?

If you have been at a camp in the past, you know it isn’t all rosy fun and kickball games. Camp provides amazing, unique, and beneficial opportunities, many of which are opportunities to do hard things.

Whether you are a camper, counselor, or on cleaning staff, you will most likely run into something that makes you want to pack up and take the next bus home.

So, summer camper, here are three ideas that I know are helpful for me to keep in mind as I head out the door for camp.

1. Be prepared to practice patience.

Let’s face it. If you are attending or working at camp this summer, something (or someone) will probably push your buttons.

That camper who won’t wake up on time…

That bunk mate who won’t go to sleep…

Your oblivious supervisor…

The broken air conditioner…

You fill in the blank.

How we react to those times will often decide our overall camp experience. Will we choose to be discontent, short-tempered, and rude? Or will we show the compassion and patience of our Savior?

Let’s make it a habit to be in prayer asking God to give us the patience we will need.

2. Be real.

I know how tempting it can be to act like a super Christian when you go to camp. It’s easy to slip into an award winning act of self-sufficiency and piety. Does that really honor God though? I think not.

We feel that we must perform to be accepted by either campers in our care or by peers. However, I think you will find that all campers will relate to you better if you are humbly genuine instead.

Don’t act like you have your life together, but point to the God who uses broken people for His purposes and for His glory.

3. Be an example.

In the rush of things, sometimes we can forget why we are even at camp in the first place.

Primarily, we are there as an extension to the reason why we are on earth — to know God and make His infinite love known. We are there to be Jesus to whoever we might be serving.

Camp can give you the opportunity to show Jesus’ love to the lonely camper who simply needs a friend.

Camp can give you the opportunity to show Jesus’ patience to a stressed out staffer.

Camp can give you the opportunity to show Jesus’ hope to lost and hurting unbelievers.

So as we catch a bus to camp this summer, let’s remember these truths, and be prepared to do hard things to show Christ’s love.

How are you involved in camp ministry? How can you prepare to serve better? How has God used camp in your life?


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About the author

Alathia Hayes

is a graciously forgiven college sophomore whose broken soul has been mended by the Author of life. She has a passion for helping children and other teens know how much they are loved. When sheโ€™s not studying, you will likely find her playing piano, sipping on a cup of coffee, perusing local used book shops, or participating in an epic round of Mario Kart with her brothers.

41 comments

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  • Great article, Haylie! I’ve been a “camper, counselor, [and] on cleaning staff” before, and these are some really good points. ~Anna

      • Doing well but busy…I’m headed to college in the fall and there’s a lot of loose ends to tie up before I leave. How about you?

        • Yeah my brother graduated this spring and so I’ve seen the scramble to get everything figured out for the fall. I’ll be praying for you! I am doing well, and I’m enjoying my summer ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks, Liana! I hope you have a really great summer working on Kitchen staff. That’s tough work!

  • Allie, you did an amazing job on writing this!!! I think the number one thing that I need to work on as a jr cabin leader is patience lol camp is coming soon!!!

  • I just got back from a missions camp yesterday! There were times that I was exhausted and wanted to go back to my dorm and sleep all day. There was a time where I cried because I was the only one out of twelve hundred people who didn’t have some awesome spiritual experience during a certain night. There were times when I thought, “I just want to be able to take a shower without people banging on the door for me to hurry up.” Going to camp was pretty hard for me as an introvert, but it really stretched my comfort zone. I may not have had a life changing experience like many of the other people did, but I learn a lot and have many amazing opportunities to serve others. My friend and I even got to lead a bible study with some kids from a low income neighborhood.

    So, if you’re an introvert like me, definitely go to camp, remembering these tips that Haylie gave you because you’ll definitely need them, and even though it might be hard, the kind of experiences you will have are totally worth it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you so much for sharing your camp experience with us, Olivia! I’m glad that you saw your trip as worth it in the end. Thanks for reading, and God bless!

  • Great article Haylie!! I’m not doing a camp this summer but I have had some great experiences at Twin Lakes Camp. You made a lot of great points in preparing for camp. I think we get so concerned with caring about preparing physically that we forget how important it is to prepare spiritually. Thanks for reminding us Haylie!:)

    • Thanks for your encouraging words, and for reading, M. Victoria! Glad to hear you’ve had good camp experiences in the past ๐Ÿ™‚

  • This is great! I’m headed out to SWO later, so I’ll have to remember to reread this then. Thanks!

  • Great thoughts! I am going to a week long music camp next week, and it’s the first time I’ve ever been to any kind of camp away from home. Plus I have a hard time working with other people. So these are great things to think about! It’d be great if you guys could pray that I would be loving and respectful and real and humble.

  • Perfect timing as I’m supposed to be packing right now for camp. This year I’m going to iGovern Statecraft and I know it will be stressful and difficult, as those are the intentions, but I was just ready to dive in headfirst! Now thanks to your article I can prepare myself a bit. I always try to be cheerful in everything I do, but you made me realize that it does’t have to be a spur of the moment type thing, but that we can get ready and set our game face ahead of time. Thanks for a great article!

  • You’re welcome so much! Random, I’m in MI this week visiting family. If you’re bored we could like, do some sort of rebelutionary meet up ;p

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectationsโ€”a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More โ†’