As I sit and look around the victory circle, I am flooded by the memories of years gone by: late night snacks, cleaning out the muck in the mini-golf pond, the sting of the gaga ball as it hits your face, the vibration of the BB gun as you fire off a round, the joyful glee of swimmers in the pool, and the deep bellow of the chapel bell as it echoes throughout the camp. These and many more memories will once again come alive to me as my fifth summer on staff approaches.
Having gone to Camp Gilead for all of my life as a camper, High School Staff and College staff, I am excited to now be on Program Staff. I remember looking up to past head counselors and wondering if I would ever get to do that; legends like Jonathan and Tim Counts, Noah Bannister, Jason Taylor, Jon Cramer, Simon Sandusky, and Jeremy Ashbee. Now here I am in that same position. In no way do I wish to replace these men of God, but instead I hope to become another great role model to all campers and staff.
Looking back I can barely remember the names of the people who spoke during a week of chapel, let alone what they preached on. I can’t honestly say what great spiritual lesson I learned every year of camp either. What I really can remember is every counselor that I had since my first junior camp in 1998 and what impact they had on my life. Sure, in many ways these guys were not perfect, however God chose to use all of them in many different ways to shape me to be who I am today.
To each person reading this, campers both young and old, staff members of past and the present, and to anyone else, I wish for you to reflect on the purpose statement that we have chosen for this coming summer – Experiencing Creation and Community to Evangelize and Disciple.
Many of you have been saved at Camp Gilead and still more have grown to become more Christ-like after a week of camp. No matter where you are in life there are people who look up to you and will be forever changed by the things that you do – for better or for worse. Don’t let this paralyze you into inaction for fear that you will mess up. Instead, focus on ways to be a great godly example to those around you as they follow in your footsteps. Evangelism and discipleship isn’t just a “camp thing” but something that we all must daily live. Who knows? Perhaps that annoying little kid that follows you will become the next head counselor.
2 Timothy 2:1-2
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.
2009 Guys Head Counselor