As one of the two Serve Ministries interns this year, I have learned a lot in a very short period of time. We are almost done with Camp Hutchison Discovery and I have learned more about flexibility, teamwork, and patience than ever before. Though they may have been a challenge, these past few weeks have been such a joy in my life.
In the midst of the chaos of 100 kids and around 30 volunteers, learning and growth are apparent everywhere. I have had the opportunity to witness children that didn’t know their last names, learn about the planets, constellations and how to be a good friend. I’ve watched them sneakily eat the marshmallows with which they were supposed to be creating constellations and make messes with colored shaving cream. For these kids, Camp Hutchison is the place where they have the opportunity to be silly, have fun and do crafts that have been cut from their school curriculums.
Though this camp sounds like effortless fun and learning, a huge amount of planning went into these three weeks. For about two months, Mason and I spent every day recruiting volunteers, creating lesson plans and ordering supplies for camp. Our only job was to prepare for these weeks. Because so much of my time was invested in this camp, I had a very solid vision of what I wanted the camp to be. Very quickly, I realized that this vision was unrealistic.
Because these are real-life children, real-life volunteers and we are real-life interns, it became apparent that no amount of planning could make camp run completely smoothly. Whether it was confusion about names, transportation or rowdy misbehavior, there is a lot more to managing Camp Hutchison than just being prepared. But, Mason and I have learned that this is what makes this experience so rewarding.
Camp Hutchison is not turning out to be the exact same as my plan. In fact, it’s often full of complications and challenges, both things that I definitely didn’t include in my mental plan for camp. But, learning to let go of my own plan and just trust in the Lord to pull us through has been the greatest challenge and greatest reward. Mason and I joke about how this camp has given us the gifts of flexibility and trust, more than anything else.
Though it may have been hard for us to release our holds on “our versions” of camp, it has been the best possible thing for Camp Hutchison and the students. God has blessed us with children that are eager to learn, funny and full of life. They are kind to each other and full of compassion. Our counselors have reached out to us with stories that are full of God’s work. For example, one counselor said,
“I saw God’s work in so many of the counselors, teachers and students this week at Camp Hutchison. One moment that touched my heart was when a young boy walked away from a group because he didn’t get picked in a game and another child went over and put his arm around him and said, ‘Please come back, we need you.’”
Moments like this have been common throughout the week and are the clear and obvious rewards of following God’s plan for Camp Hutchison. Though we prepared and prepared, it has become clear to us that the only way to run a successful camp program is to release our expectations and fully trust God.
Submitted by Lacy McCleskey