One of my favorite things about camp is the opportunity that we as counselors have to speak truth into the lives of young guys. These guys are dealing with all sort of things. They need guidance. They are desiring guidance. Camp gives them that opportunity. An opportunity to be blunt. An opportunity to be completely honest about things that are going on at home. And we as their “older brothers” are free to speak truth into their lives from scripture, pray for them, answer questions, and just be there. Sometimes all these kids really need is people that will be there for them. To show that they truly care about them and that this isn’t just some job, but a joy and a friendship.
How are the counselors able to intentionally disciple these kids? Because we are being intentionally discipled and poured into ourselves from the central staff. Camp is a real picture of the body of Christ. We are loving on these kids as we are being loved on by the central staff as the central staff and us counselors are being loved on with the all powerful and unconditional love of Jesus Christ. Its one of the places where I feel blessed to be at because as I am teaching these kids, I am being taught and I’m learning too.
3. Camp Ridgecrest means to me Brotherhood:
When you find community, you know it. You are at peace about it. You know those people will love you sacrificially and that you will love them too. Its hard to go into new community once you get comfortable in one place, but the Lord will give you the strength to reach out and enjoy what He has placed before you. And that’s what he allowed me to do this summer. I got to do life with 12 strangers. We struggled through misbehaving kids and homesickness. We battled together. And when you battle with the same people for an extended period of time, they become your brothers. We prayed alongside one another. And I grew to love those guys. We were all so uniquely different, but God had placed each one of us there. We each served a purpose and at the end, we were all one cohesive unit. We were all focused on the furthering of the gospel and loving on these kids and serving them. I was blessed to serve alongside each one of my brothers this summer, not only in my tribe, but also in the other tribes. I felt welcomed and genuinely loved by my brothers.
But brotherhood doesn’t stop with the staff. Its displayed in the campers. Its a normal clique-ish camp. Some campers have been there for 9 years and others are coming for the first time. But the new ones are welcomed into the bunch. They are treated like they have been there for years and welcomed in as such. I love to see the genuine love and caring of each younger brother of mine at camp. Its a blessing to me.
4. Camp Ridgecrest means to me Safety:
Some of these kids coming into camp are not blessed with the best home situations. Some of them are mighty rough and the kids are closed off because of it. But as my co-counselor said this summer early on: “This place is a place for kids to forget about home for a little while. Camp gives kids a chance to be kids.” Its incredible when you see kids that are so closed off when they come into camp, leaving completely different. Its because camp is a safe place. A place to open up about struggles, for either counselors or campers. A place for a kid to be a kid.
5. Camp Ridgecrest means to me Gospel Centered:
From the moment you enter the gates at Camp Ridgecrest, you can tell there is something different about Camp Ridgecrest than any other camp. Its unity. Its brotherhood. Its exciting atmosphere. All of these things are possible because their focus is on Christ Jesus. Everything and I mean everything is focused on the gospel. Why? Because the gospel and the gospel alone changes people. And you see it every camp fire, every final fire, kids giving their lives to Christ. Christ is changing lives through Camp Ridgecrest.