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What I Learned at Summer Camp

Gosh there are SO MANY life lessons to be learned at summer camp. I have just completed my seventh summer here at Shepherd’s Fold Ranch! In 2008 & 2009 I served as a counselor, kitchen staff member, life guard, and store clerk. In 2010 I was one of two Treehouse Village Coordinators who ran the 2nd-7th grade overnight camp. In 2011 I served as one of three Assistant Directors, overseeing three different camps and their staff. And, from August 2011 through August 2014, I have served as the Camp Director at Shepherd’s Fold Ranch.

Obviously there are tangible skills to be learned when you are in a specific role. Take life guarding for example. You learn how to guard lives at the waterfronts, building skills such as swimming, rescues, pool management, etcetera. There are so many things to be learned beyond the surface of these roles. Before the staff left I told them this, “In the 14 months of summer that I have spent at SFR, I have learned more than in the 70 months through the year.” I believe that. When you walk away from a summer in the Furnace, you often don’t realize all that you’ve acquired until months later when it hits you that something you used to struggle with, now is simple.

Beyond the technical skills, I have learned things simply by living at the Ranch for two solid years by myself. I’ve learned that when I feel alone, God is ALWAYS near. I’ve learned that when I don’t have much, the Lord gives greatly. I’ve learned that when I fall short, He stands tall. When I’m not enough, He is more than enough. I’ve learned SO MUCH about people and how important relationship is. I’ve learned how to care for my heart and set boundaries. I’ve learned how to communicate clearly. I’d say the most important thing I have been blessed to learn in my time here at SFR is this: People are the most important aspect of anything you do. PEOPLE MATTER. Yes, schedules are important and meals need to happen, but if you don’t care for the people, the rest of it won’t count.

My one piece of advice for the next Camp Director: Know your sheep and always put them first. 

“The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” John 10:2-5

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