Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer Camp 2014

The theme verse and goal for this year’s summer camp was Proverbs 9:9, “Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.”

The Tiger Pause staff desired to show the kids who attended this summer camp the love of God both in the devotion times and also by example. The staff invested countless hours preparing for the camp by creating an engaging, safe atmosphere where the kids could learn and grow. Whether it was enjoying a field trip (to the Butler fair, the Pittsburgh zoo, or Idlewild amusement park), participating in community service, swimming and playing, or joining together in praising the Lord, it was humbling to see how God used camp to bless both the kids and the staff.

Though not without its challenges, camp was certainly full of blessings. Some of the greatest blessings from camp were the relationships that we counselors developed with the kids and with one another. The staff went into camp desiring to impact the kids’ lives, but we realized along the way just how much they were impacting ours. Sharing that experience really helped us to bond, as we encouraged and challenged one another to serve more faithfully. The ways that camp stretched us as staff members helped to develop us as leaders. We realized a beautiful truth from Scripture as we worked with the kids and grew alongside other counselors: that, as Christians, we are all part of the body of Christ, each possessing a unique gift and purpose. We needed one another. Every gift and talent equipped us to meet the challenges that camp presented.

The kids made this truth even more evident. Each child was wonderfully unique, adding to the overall camp dynamic. The staff would find it difficult to imagine those six weeks without each and every child who attended. One night after camp, we shared stories around a campfire. We were there for several hours, but we could easily have been there all night recalling more delightful memories about the kids we had grown to love. Here are just a few of those memories.

The enthusiasm of the kids to learn the Bible lessons amazed us. Hearing them say that they wanted to have faith like Abraham or wisdom like Solomon was so encouraging. As they learned more about the love of God many of them desired to model that love to their fellow campers, even ones whom they had formerly disliked. One day while at the pool, a young girl left the fun to ask her counselor deeper questions about the morning Bible lesson. The staff planted seeds but God caused the growth, and lives were redeemed.

Working with the kids in the community garden excited us because their attitudes positively changed as they saw what a difference their efforts were making. They found the results rewarding, and it inspired them to transform their own communities. The day that we visited nursing homes in the community was also a favorite time of many. The residents of the nursing homes laughed and cried tears of joy as they were enlivened by the campers’ energy. Seeing the kids so pleased to help others once again evidenced how they were taking their lessons to heart. It was truly a blessing to see how God used this year’s Tiger Pause camp to redeem lives, build leaders and transform the local community.

Abby York
Summer Camp Staff

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