It’s that time again. Tomorrow after my last exam at school, I am beginning my journey up to camp. I won’t be returning till September 1st, 2 days before my crazy grade 12 year begins. This is my third summer working at camp, and every year has been so different, but the common thread is that I come home a very different girl. I’m beyond excited to see what this summer holds, but i’m also excited to see where I will be at in September after another crazy summer. Previous summers I’ve worked as a lifeguard, done service staff (maintenance) and worked with program. This summer I’m honoured to be taking a position in the most challenging, but rewarding job yet- cabin leading. Let’s rewind a bit to my first summer at camp….

July 2009, I’m 13 years old and mum is dropping me off at camp. Currently I am in tears and quite frustrated with her because I do NOT want to be at camp. Call it typical 13-year old girl insecurity, but I genuinely thought I would make no friends, have no fun and genuinely despise everything about camp. (You can’t forget about the rebellious 13 year old in me either- “Camp? Something mum wants me to do? I can’t do what she wants!”) I’d spent the week before reading over the camp schedule they had online and looking at the website. All I could think was how awful a week I was going to have.

I have to laugh now because I couldn’t have been more wrong.

First after registering, my cabin leading Siren came to help me bring my bags down to my cabin. She told me the story of how she got her camp nickname and we talked about how she knew my brother from going to camp with him before. I remember thinking “she is the nicest person I’ve ever met”. And within another 10 minutes, I’d met another girl from my cabin, and like typical pre-teen girls, we were best friends pretty much on the spot. To make a long story short, the week flew by and before I knew it it was Saturday morning and mum was there to pick me up. I was in tears again this time because i did not want to leave at all. I’d had one of the most fun weeks ever, made great friends and for the first time in my life, I had gotten to experience my faith on my own. That’s one of the beauties of camp. If your parents are sending you to Camp Widjiitiwin, you’ve probably grown up at church. And for some who’ve grown up going to church, like myself, it’s hard to feel like your faith is your own because it’s been your parents who’ve brought you to church, sent you to youth, and prayed with you before bed. Now those aren’t bad things, they’re amazing things! But it’s important for us kids to experience our faith on our own, by our own will and our own means. Camp provides that for us. After hearing the salvation message at chapel it was I who got to make the decision to go to my cabin leader and share with her my story, and my new found desire to get serious about committing my life to Christ. And after praying with her that Thursday night, things shifted in my life.

That’s why I’m heading up to camp this weekend. Camp is one of the best things that’s happened in my life and I want to give to other campers, what Siren and Knip gave to me. As a camper you look at those on staff and you think “they are the coolest people alive, and they truly love God!”. I believe in the power of camp ministry, and all that it can do for a person, as it’s helped my through so much in my own life!

Pray for us on staff at Widjiitiwin as we embark on another crazy adventure for the next 10 weeks, and not only see the hearts of campers change, but our own hearts as well.

-Panic

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