Ten years ago my wife and kids persuaded me to become a summer camp counselor for a week at Cedarbrook. This decision enabled my youngest Lydia to attend, a year younger than the accepted age. This week just happened to be during a heat wave in the high 90’s every day. To make matters worse I stayed in the only cabin without air conditioning. Between the heat, humidity and lack of sleep, I was sick the rest of the summer. This experience caused me to never return, retiring after my first and only year.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go,” Joshua 1:9.
Over the past decade, my two oldest boys transitioned from campers to counselors in training. Teenagers go through a three year process before a bird name is selected and earn the right to become an official camp counselor. James, my oldest, graduated and spent two summers as a counselor. Meanwhile, Daniel completed his counselor in training last summer and is currently a cabin leader this week at camp. Finally, my daughter Lydia has begun year one of training to follow in her brother’s footsteps.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, Philippians 4:6-7.
One of my favorite traditions is going out to lunch after Cedarbrook’s closing ceremonies. This meal allows my children to share their experience from the week. While they may be complaining and frustration, I redirect the topic toward their favorite or most memorable moments of camp. As I listen, this conversation provides a transition from summer camp back to reality. Often, my kids talk about what they would do differently to improve things for next year. This debriefing session gives my wife and I the opportunity to share our perspectives and hopefully promote spiritually growth during this upcoming school year. May this year’s experience inspire souls to follow Christ daily.
by Jay Mankus