I just finished my third summer working at New Life Island. This summer, I was employed as the assistant cook, and it was a huge learning experience for me. Though it was a rough summer at times, I have no doubt that spending the summer at camp was the greatest thing I could have done.
|Me and the counselor of the cabin I lived in.|
|Picture simply documenting that I got to climb on the counters to clean the walls : )|
· You get to live in a new culture. Believe it or not, camp is not a vacation or getaway. Camp is a new culture, a way of life. You get dunked into this new place, new world, new lifestyle without any time to wade in slowly. And just like a trip to a new country, camp changes people. Camp also changes you. The motto of the camp I work at is "No One Leaves the Same."
· You build incredibly strong relationships. For seven long weeks, you spend almost every hour of every day with the same thirty people. You see each other make fools of themselves. You grow with each other in God's word. You see each other stressed, tired, and anxious. You get to know your coworkers, their personalities, and their hearts better than you ever thought possible. A handful of these relationships will last for many years in the future.
· You become extremely well acquainted with hard work. Camp is a job. You work hard. It's hot. You sweat. You get asked to help with things that are not in your job description. Break time is treasured, and naptime is priceless.
· You are encouraged to maintain proper priorities. Your relationship with God comes first, then your job, then fun. Each of us are expected to grow in our faith, study Scripture on our own, attend chapel, and display a godly attitude to campers at all times. These are our priorities. Oh, and sleep. Getting a good night sleep is a priority too.
· There is constant, loving accountability for your actions. From day one, rules are established. There are things you do, times you don't stay out after, and authority you respect. Camp is fun, but it's also a job and you have a boss, a boss who expects you to respect your job and do your job to the best of your ability.
· For me, I get really good food. As the assistant cook of the camp, I am probably quite biased, but this food is amazing. The camp charge is relatively inexpensive for campers to attend, and the great things this kitchen does with the limited budget is fantastic.
· Your work has a clear mission. Camp exists for a reason. The camp I work at exists to "change lives for Christ." Even if a camp isn't a place designed to be a place of spiritual growth, they still have a blatant mission. Sometimes a camp wants to help kids with tough backgrounds or to teach kids new skills.
· You can't hide from your flaws. When you work at camp, you quickly realize how impatient, unkind, rude, and inconsiderate you are. You can't walk away from people you don't like or don't get a long with. You can't call on you group of super close friends to have you back every second of every day. You have to deal with your flaws, ask others to help you learn, pray that God helps you become more like Him. A lot of your enjoyment at camp hinges on you being humble enough to objectively find your flaws, take criticism, and learn.
· You become better in basic tasks and jobs. Since I have started working at camp, I have learned how to calibrate a thermometer, make funnel cake, take inventory, receive a food delivery, mop floors, and so many other things I cannot count. I've also gotten better in my knife skills, dishwashing, ice cream scooping, and fire building. At camp, you learn a variety of new tasks and get a lot better at other things that will greatly help you for the rest of your life. Yes, scooping ice cream is a skill I plan on using the rest of my life.
· You get to witness God work miracles in the hearts of campers. Kids put their faith in Jesus Christ because they come to camp and learn about His salvation. This is my greatest priority, so this is why working at camp is awesome.