The summer is coming to a close. School is on the horizon for many of us (campers, parents, and staff alike), and the seasonal staff at Pathfinders have only one final week of clean-up before we bid our summer home farewell.
It seems like just the other day we were preparing for the arrival of the first students of the summer. When I think again, though, two months seems far too short a time for all that’s been accomplished: fun had, friendships born, things learned, circles made (so many circles), laughter and tears shared, relationships strengthened, dog biscuits eaten, and lives changed.
At our three weeks of residential camp, we saw the birth of the Ironman Challenge, where teams of two would wake up with the sun each day to complete some absurd objective, such as completing an obstacle course with one partner blindfolded, performing a belly-flop from the new high dive, and eating the aforementioned dog biscuits. Each team that accomplished each task was awarded the title of “Ironman” —a gender-inclusive term—and a corresponding gold medal (made from dehydrated spam). The highest-scoring male and female pairs were declared champions, and now have their names forever etched into the Ironman trophies for all to see.
We also introduced “shout-outs” this year at resident camp, where students were given the opportunity to make a big deal out of great things they saw their fellow campers doing—even if that thing was as seemingly insignificant as holding a door open for someone. It was amazing to hear so many words of encouragement (and cheers) floating around in the loft every evening at shoutout time.
At day camp, we took elementary-aged students deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest, where they had the opportunity to swing on a gigantic vine swing, learn skills necessary for jungle survival, save a large and mysterious rainforest egg, and experience firsthand the importance of working together as a team.
More important and amazing than any of these things, though, is that we got to see and participate in the work of Christ in each camper’s life this summer. Young and old(ish), each student came with their own particular set of circumstances, and God was at work in different ways with each person. From the 17 campers who committed their lives to Christ for the first time this summer to the many others we could see being called to lives of ministry and service (regardless of career), we are grateful that we worship a God who knows our next steps far better than we ourselves. We serve a God who meets us right where we are but also calls us to where he is, one step at a time.