Thursday, August 7, 2014

An Open Letter to Camp Counselors!

Dear Camp Counselors (for my children's past and future counselors, other people's children their counselors),

I just got back from 5 days of counseling at a Kid's Camp.  I had been a counselor before... 16 years ago at a Jr./Sr. High Camp (pre-motherhood).  I was 22 and vowed I would never do it again for the rest of my life.  I have made the exception to do Royal Family Kids Camp once and just recently 5 days ago.  For some reason, I just couldn't say no to someone.  I knew I was walking into a week of hard work.  I was reminded why I made that solemn promise at such a young age and it is why I say thank you today.

Thank you for....

  • Preparing days before camp even starts, buying gifts, decorations, markers, flash lights, hair stuff, bags...the list could go on and on.  
  • Covering our kids in prayer before they even walk on the campgrounds.
  • Thinking of bringing extra blankets, bug spray, sunscreen, toothpaste, hair-ties, fans, space heaters, and Kleenex for my kid's runny nose. 
  • Stopping your life.
  • Turning off your phone.  
  • Being so excited and welcoming when they get dropped off.  This makes every mommy's heart soothed as they leave their children with others for 5 whole days!  Some of us have been in agony over it and will be while they are gone.  
  • Being trustworthy for us parents who are excited to get a break from our kids for 5 days!
  • Helping our kiddos get settled in and ready for the week. 
  • Guiding them through all the rules and keeping them on schedule!
  • Reminding them to brush their teeth.
  • Taking a midnight run to the bathroom.
  • Squishing spiders.
  • Carrying band-aids.
  • Handling meltdowns beautifully.
  • Making them take showers.
  • Braiding endless heads of hair.
  • Catching frogs.
  • Teaching them how to make friendship bracelets.
  • Advising them to change their underwear at least once during the week. 
  • Hugging them when they get homesick.
  • Managing friendship drama.
  • Checking the mouse traps in the cabin.
  • Cheering them on when they are struggling to pass their swim test.
  • Encouraging them when they fail swim test.
  • Hollering like a mad person to make them feel soooo good when they finally pass their swim test!!!!
  • Patting them on the back when they make a good decision. 
  • Somewhat controlling the amount of junk food they are consuming so they don't barf in their bed at night. 
  • Letting our kids find independence.  Because we all know we over-parent sometime and don't let them do half of the stuff they do one their own at camp. 
  • Showing my kid how to do something I have failed to teach them to do on their own. 
  • Bringing a night light for our kids who are afraid of the dark. 
  • Staying up later to make sure they are all asleep and safe.
  • Praying for our kid who has a nightmare in the middle of the night. 
  • Late night Glow Dance Parties!!!
  • Playing with them.
  • Taking another midnight run to the bathroom.
  • Winning games, challenges, clean cabin award!
  • Teaching them good sportsmanship when they lose. 
  • Counting your kids several times when they are swimming to make sure they are all safe.
  • Taking them on paddle boat rides when no one else will go with them.
  • Getting up an hour earlier so you can help them get ready. 
  • Reminding them to get their towel, tooth brush, soap, Bible.
  • Taking them to the nurse when they get hurt and hugging them while they are there. 
  • Preparing devotions specifically for your group. 
  • Praying with them at meals.
  • Walking, walking, walking and more walking (and probably destroying your shoes) with them everywhere to all their fun experiences.
  • Writing letters to them.
  • Keeping them under your umbrella while it pours.
  • Giving up your umbrella to keep them dry while it pours.
  • Praying words of life over my kids during chapel time.
  • Asking the Holy Spirit to make life changing moments in their hearts that will last long after they leave our home. 
  • Crying for them.
  • Weeping with them.
  • Correcting them.
  • Jumping for Joy alongside them.
  • Dancing with them.
  • Being an example on how to worship God.
  • Holding their hand.
  • Hugging them.
  • Listening to them.
  • Understanding their hurts.
  • Instructing them about the things of God.
  • Reminding them that God is their perfect heavenly Father who will never ever leave them and loves them more than anything. 
  • Leading our children to Jesus.
  • Inviting the Holy Spirit to fill them.
  • Being their biggest cheerleader when God shows them His plan for their life!
  • And for loving my kids!!!!

Thank You, a thousand times Thank You!  Because being a counselor is a thankless job.  You work 24 hrs for 5 straight days. Your muscles hurt.  You have gone through 2 pairs of flip flops. You probably ran out of clean clothes. You struggled to get a good night sleep. You are tired. You are exhausted.  But you don't care because you love our kids and you love God. And as you become a distant memory the moment their parents sweep them into their arms and drive off, remember every kid remembers their camp experience. It is at camp I rededicated my heart to Jesus. It was at camp my daughter asked Jesus into her heart.  It is at camp kids are filled with the Holy Spirit. It is at camp that kids are called to be pastors and missionaries.  There are experiences that happen at camp that will impact the way they live for the rest of their lives.  It is all because a group of people like yourself said yes to 5 days of camp.

So the words "Thank You" seem so insignificant for what you have done. In return, I ask that God will bless you with all the good and wonderful blessings from Heaven.  That He would fill you with joy overflowing.

With much love,
A mommy of your campers

Will I ever counsel again at camp?
....ehh I will leave that up to God now.  It is in my opinion, one of the hardest jobs in ministry I have ever done.


Special Thanks to Captured Photography for the top 3 pictures.