“Do we really have seven more hours until we get there?”
“Did we just take another wrong turn?”
“Am I eating chicken nuggets and fries for dinner again?
“ Is it too much to ask that my campers sleep the whole night without wetting their beds?”
“Will singing this worship song for the 100th time really improve these campers’ cranky attitudes?”
These are just a few of the questions Corban Camp Team member ask themselves during a summer of summer camp counseling. Clearly, Camp Team is not for everyone. It takes a special individual to spend seven weeks of the summer working with students. Fighting pure exhaustion, the frequent brat child, and conflicts with fellow counselors, this past summer’s 12 Camp Team members not only survived the summer, but also ministered to countless students throughout the Northwest. The counselors’ were Jeffrey Morse, Casey Sweet, Rachelle Schafer, Erica Fitzgerald, Chris McGehee, Bryan White, Sage Neilson, Heather Simpson, Caleb Ringhand, Becca Anni, Adam Fields, and Julia Quiring.
Divided into three four-member teams, the college students traveled to places as far away as Tanalian Bible Camp in Port Alsworth, Alaska and Shiloh Bible Camp in Donnelly, Idaho. Their duties ranged from counseling to working in the kitchen. Also, they presented information about Corban to camps for high schoolers.
Here are some things they shared about their summer experiences:
Q: What was the craziest thing you had to do as a counselor or staff member?
Chris McGehee: I think the craziest thing was helping run Zombie Apocalypse. There were about a hundred staff people with freaky face paint dressed as salt-licking zombies running around scaring people. It made me happy to hear that high school boys were scared enough to start crying.
Erica Fitzgerald: One of my favorite night activities was when we would let our cabin girls dress us up as crazy as possible, usually ending with ridiculous hair styles and makeup everywhere. And then all the counselors would go and do an epic belly flop contest!
Q: What was one experience during your summer camp moments that made everything worth it for you?
Erica Fitzgerald: Everything was amazing at the camps, but getting a message from a
camper after camp updating me on how well she is doing and keeping me
updated is the best feeling. It is awesome to hear from campers and
continue to be a part of their lives.
Jeffrey Morse: When after a very tired and frustrating week of camp, God used me to lead three of my campers to start a relationship with Him!
Q: Did you ever have any bad experiences from travel?
Erica Fitzgerald: Car rides were always entertaining. The worst was going down multiple non-existent roads and once when we were only 10 minutes from camp, somehow we got 2 hours lost. It was awful. Our team was expert at getting lost everywhere we went.
Jeffrey Morse: I forgot my bag at one of the camps, and had to spend the whole next day driving all the way back to pick it up!
Q: What were the pros and cons of eating camp food all summer?
Heather Simpson: The pros of being on camp team is your camp food changes every week! Some negative effects: well, you gain weight, and some camps don’t provide anything but fried foods…. I missed vegetables and fruits that week, a lot.
Jeffrey Morse: NO CONS! CAMP FOOD WAS THE BEST!!!
Q: How well did you mesh with your team?
Heather Simpson: Amazingly. We are all really close now (or at least I like to think so :-P).
Jeffrey Morse: Very well. Although we had different personalities we got along surprisingly well, and got super comfortable with each other!
Q: How did students respond to your promotion/presentations of Corban University?
Heather Simpson: We had a lot of questions about Corban; a lot of campers seemed really intrigued about there being Christian universities and seemed eager to learn more about the school.
Jeffrey Morse: Good! I only heard positive things!
Q: Did any particular camp speaker stand out to you? What did they say or do that left an impression on you?
Heather Simpson: James Owalabi. He was passionate about what he did and the students that were at the camp. He grabbed their attention and was very real and honest about the truth of the gospel and how sin has affected the world. He is just a gifted speaker with a ton of enthusiasm.
Q: What was the most important thing you learned from this summer?
Erica Fitzgerald: There is no greater joy than serving the Lord. Working with kids was such a great time and even when camp is all about the campers, counselors’ lives are transformed as well. You learn to not rely on yourself because after seven very long exhausting weeks, you can’t handle it all without God.
Chris McGehee: If I’m doing something for God and I’m relying on Him, He will help me to me able to do what I need to do and will give me enough energy to keep up with a group of middle school boys.