High School Summer Camp

June 30, 2008


Whew! Of all the camps I have administrated these last five years (about eight of them), this last one was the most intense. Not only was it a logistical nightmare (being a road trip), but it also had way more discipline problems than usual!

Over seven days we confiscated sixteen cell phones and one ipod, had two front teeth knocked out, had one student damage the room he was staying in (broken glow stick anyone?), had two students leave campus unannounced (leading us to believe they had run away) and, to top it all off, we had one student bring, brag about, and allegedly smoke weed.

Judging by the rap sheet, you’d think that camp was a failure, but you’d only have heard half the story at that point. As camp administrator I tend to see and hear mostly the negative aspects of camp: “That student is destroying our small group times!” “Could you fix this problem?” “We’re running late!” Over the years though, I have found that the thing that keeps me going is refocusing on one thing: What is God doing?

Though there were little glimmers along the way, it was not until the last night that things really came in to focus. Whether it is the students holding out, or God finally taking hold of their hearts that last worship time on the last night is always incredible. This year that last night was especially cool.

About twenty minutes in to the afterglow (which is basically a time of worship and waiting on the Spirit) another leader and myself were just returned from finding our two runaways. As we stepped in the door–just having faced the epitome of defiance in these students–it was awesome to see so many other students pouring their hearts out to God in surrender. They were standing, kneeling, weeping, singing, hugging and reconciling all in a great, big beautiful mess.

Every year it is as if our youth ministries invite me in to the lions den. So why do I consent to walk in to the den year after year? I suppose it is because at the end of it all, my job is to help the students realize that no matter how they try, they are still held in the loving hands of God. Even in the face of the most defiant, annoying, frustrating student I can still be amazed at the divine transaction that is taking place: God is still loving that person and slowly, he is leading me to love them too.

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2 Responses to “High School Summer Camp”


  1. Dude – did you really have a broken light stick? How cool is that! Sam wasn’t involved was he?

  2. joewulf Says:

    No Sam wasn’t involved, though I did tell them the story when I came in the room, which scared them pretty good.


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