Summer camp impact

Summer camp impact

Kayden Rowell, Contributing Writer

Summer camps entice students who crave the outdoors with their charm and tranquility. It doesn’t matter where students want to go, whether it’s in the woods, the mountain range or the beach, there is a place for everyone. For Sebastian McGown, traveling across the southeastern coast with other campers led him to discover that overcoming hardship is possible.

McGown, a junior at North Greenville University, had the opportunity to work at churches in several states over the course of eight weeks. The youth groups he interacted with were noticeably impacted by his team. “A lot of them were dealing with crazy home situations. I think that being away from that and having people care for them, gave them an opportunity to feel loved,” McGown said.

Since coming back to campus, McGown has valued the physical benefits of continuous travel for allotted amounts of time. “Getting an opportunity to work long hours without rest has helped my time management coming back to college,” McGown continued, “I also learned to care less about what others think about me.” As a result of constantly moving, meeting new people and attending welcoming churches, he has become more comfortable with himself. He is open to sharing his experiences, is an uplifting voice to his friends and is able to manage his busy college life easier.

Throughout his travels, McGown endured physical, mental and emotional hardship– yet he was at peace with all of it. During outdoor activities, several volunteers sustained physical injuries. With twisted ankles, dislocations, concussions and tearing of a muscle in his own back, he realized his own strength could not carry his team. “I have to rely on something greater than myself. I am prone to brokenness. Letting God take control of it has helped me be at peace with what I experienced over the summer,” McGown said, smiling.

Going through tough times can either build up or knock down an individual. McGown has used his experiences during summer camp to improve his attitude. What matters to McGown is that the perspective you approach a problem is with an open heart, giving it to God and being at peace.

Another summer camp volunteer is Savannah Cade, a sophomore at NGU. She was responsible for running meals, kids care, hiking and horseback riding at Wind River Ranch. Wind River Ranch is a Christian family camp that is located in Colorado. While far from home, Cade took away three major lessons from being a summer camp volunteer.

Cade’s first takeaway from this past summer was loyalty and love. “We had this saying, Ride for the Brand, is when a cowboy signs up to work for a ranch owner. He is signing away his life, willing to die for the things he loves,” Cade said. She has carried that mindset over to her faith.

Committing to God, having a relationship with him and being willing to do anything for His glory.

Cade and the other volunteers worked long hours, seven days a week. “It was hard labor but it was fruitful. You’re not done until everyone is done. We all helped each other out,” she said. Sacrifice and servanthood, Cade’s second lesson from camp, are what she continues to exemplify at college. If she sees dishes that need to be cleaned, she cleans hers and her roommate’s as well. She is quick to help anyone in need of a pick-me-up, strives to do a good job in school and pushes herself to be a better friend, woman, and sister.

Capability despite fear was Cade’s final lesson from her time at camp. Going to summer camp in Colorado was terrifying to her. For example, she was not planning to swing dance with the others. Her heart was pounding, out of her comfort zone and terrified of being dropped. A friend grabbed her hand and had her follow his steps. Similar to God grabbing her hand and guiding her, she learned to let go of fear and to trust Him.

Cade’s realization of the capability that she has in Christ left an impression on her. “You are worthy when you have the Master’s hand. He makes you capable, beautiful, and worth so much because on our own we are nothing,” Cade said. Because of summer camp, Cade has gotten out of her comfort zone to experience new things. She now knows that with God, she is capable of anything.

Photo courtesy of Abigail Dickerson

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