Thank You to the Summer Camp Counselors
Summer staff sit together around a campfire. They have just spent two weeks training and preparing for summer camp. That means everything from learning how to make friendship bracelets out of string, cleaning program equipment and spaces, practicing lifeguard rescues, and singing hours and hours of campfire songs. They are weary but excited. The first campers will come in just 2 days.
As they sit together, bonded through sweat and laughter and anticipation, they think back to the people who had the greatest influence on their lives. Some recount youth leaders and teachers. Some call to mind coaches or parents. Many talk about their own summer camp counselors.
They talk about being cheered on when they wanted to give up. They talk about opening the pages of the Bible in a safe space. They talk about difficult but powerful conversations shared by campers and the young adults who led them. They talk about overcoming obstacles, learning to be leaders, and fighting against injustice.
As they sit around the campfire, preparing for the arrival of a new generation of young people who will arrive at camp, they are reminded of their own powerful experiences with the counselors who led them. They aspire to be that person for those who will be in their care.
The work of a counselor doesn’t end when the kids go home. Their words, smiles, high fives, and hugs carry that child through the adversity and challenges they face when they leave. During that one week of summer camp, kids find their self-esteem bolstered, their faith strengthen, and their friendships solidified so that by the time they are ready to go home, they feel so much more confident and capable to travel wherever life will lead them, to go wherever God would call.
Who was that person for you? Whose words did you hear in your head when you wanted to give up but chose to push through instead? Whose guidance inspired your own faith journey? Who gave you a hug when you were homesick or counseled you through your first camp crush? The value of camp is more than just a week. A counselor’s impact lasts so much longer than the days of summer. If you’ve been to camp, you know this is true.
Offer a prayer of thanks for your own counselors who coached you through the uncertainties of adolescence. We’re sending a thank you to the summer camp counselors, leaders, and directors who have impacted more people than they know. We hope you know how much we love you.