What Camp Ridgecrest Means to Me: Part One

The best times are the times that you remember. Times that you are able to look back on with tears in your eyes and joy in your heart. Times that are spent enjoying God, His creation, and His body. This summer I had a chance to do all of those things at Camp Ridgecrest for Boys in Ridgecrest, NC.

I wanted to start this blog out with an illustration. One of the greatest opportunities that a camper has is to get tapped out for the “Little Chief” test. This test is not only a test of physical strength, but also mental endurance. Each candidate must past each section of the test: the fire, the mountain, the essay, the physical labor, all the while not being able to speak a word for eighteen hours. Its intense and few pass every section.

But in the middle of the test, after passing the fire and mountain portion of the test, each candidate must write an essay. An essay that consists of 1500 words about what Camp Ridgecrest means to them. And I have to say this is kind of what writing this blog feels like.

Let me explain.

I walked up the same hill, ate at the same table, slept in the same bed, showered in the same showers and walked around the same camp everyday for 10 weeks. Camp felt like running a marathon, but it was never monotonous nor boring. Every day the Lord was showing me new things, encouraging things, whether it be from my fellow staff members or from my camp kids. Being in the middle of the marathon it was hard to understand what camp meant to me, what camp brought to me, but now that I have had some time to think, to slow down and reflect, I understand and am ready to express what Camp Ridgecrest means to me.

1. Camp Ridgecrest means to me Growth:

A. Coming in as a first year counselor, you have a lot of questions and worries. Will I be good at this job? Will I be able to answer these kids hard questions? Will I have the endurance to do this all summer? And you realize quickly the answer to all these questions is no. Outside the strength of Christ, I would fail to be what these kids needed. I realized very quickly that if I did not stay in the Word and pray for the all-encompassing strength of Christ that I would get burnt out quickly.

B. Another lesson I was taught was that every interaction and activity done with kids needed to be focused through the lense of Christ. I was constantly reminded of the purpose of every conversation and of every interaction, to love these kids the way that Christ loved them. And second session this really started becoming a constant thought of mine.

When these kids were all over me and I needed a break from them, I was reminded that Jesus would always welcome these kids to Him, over and over again. And not that I could ever love perfectly like Jesus does, but I started to have this thought whenever I was around these kids and it changed the way I looked at them.

I started loving the conversations and taking joy in the fact that they were still young enough to be “innocent” in a sense from all the garbage in the world. And I started to really invest myself into their lives both at camp and listen to their lives back home. It really made me think about the verse when the disciples were shooing the kids away and Jesus rebukes them and says, “Let the little children come to me. For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14).

I can just picture the scene. Kids yelling and screaming and all over the place. But they were no bother to Jesus. He welcomed them. He wanted the disciples to learn from them, from their joy and eagerness. He wants our attitudes as believers to be like that of children: adventurous, joyous, trusting, eager to follow after Him wholeheartedly.

(Part two coming soon)

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