As I look back on this summer of camp, I can honestly say that my predictions of what camp was going to be like were 100% wrong. One example that I have of this can be taken from the first day that the majority of people arrived for staff training. As everyone huddled around the apple trees trying to make a good impression by starting conversation and not saying anything too stupid- in comes Pastor Jim Mailloux. While everyone is deep in the awkward stage of introductions, he decides to make an appearance on Josh’s video camera to introduce everyone to Camp Gilead summer of ’09. He starts yelling into the camera like a mad man, and goes around interviewing new staffers (who, at the same time, are trying to avoid him so that they can keep their newly-developed image somewhat clean). To this day, I still believe that this is a very taboo subject in all things “camp”. It is very funny to look back afterwards and to see how everyone responded in this situation. If any staff member had been in this situation mid-way through the summer, there would have been no problem. In fact, it would have most likely evolved (with some help of course, because, we all know that…. ‘that didn’t happen by chance!!’- ‘no way!! Sorry, I couldn’t resist. :) into some huge ordeal.

Ohhhh, campers. Where to start? Of course!- my favorite camper quote. But, unfortunately, I can’t pick one- so I will have to pick two. My second favorite quote has to be when one of my campers spoke up in chapel to tell the pastor (with fill conviction) that he was incorrect in saying that “obey” was one word. Later, I briefly explained that he would have been correct if only he had said “syllables”. And here is my favorite camper quote of the whole summer: “Ben, are there really squid in the pond?” I will never be able to forget that even if I try to. Nor will I be able to stop searching for squid in the pond. ;) On a serious note: I cannot begin to explain how blessed I was by each and every camper that was in my cabin this summer. Though there were times of ups and downs, times of happiness and sadness, times of crying and laughing, times of exhaustion and coffee, times of dirtiness and (sometimes) cleanliness, times of gross-smelling clothes and fresh smelling clothes (on monday)- there is not a doubt in my mind that God had each and every camper in my cabin for a reason. I was able to get to know each camper that was in my cabin, and had an idea of what God was doing in each of their lives- whether or not they knew Jesus Christ as their personal savior. And for those that came into my cabin that do not know the Lord, I can only pray for them, that the Holy Spirit might work in their hearts. Glory to God for an awesome summer, and for all the work that has been done in these campers’ lives.

Ben Nelson
Counselor Cabin 11 * Summer 2009