The Great Adventure Camp is so much more than just a summer camp I went to growing up. The Great Adventure Camp is the place I first truly understood what Jesus did for me on the cross in a way that was relevant to me. The Great Adventure Camp was and remains my home away from home, the place I spent my favorite of all the weeks each year.
I first went to camp with a friend who convinced me to go as a nine year old girl. I was anxious and had no idea what to expect. Little did I know that between the mashed potato throwing and “Pharaoh Pharaoh” screaming I was about to experience the best week of my life. More than that, I was going to hear clearly for the first time the message about who Jesus was and why His life and death on the cross mattered to me. Each summer that followed I eagerly awaited another chance to have a blast and to hear about the love of Christ. What I treasured so much about my time at camp wasn’t just that I heard about the love God had for me, but that I truly experienced it. From the staff that was serving me to the counselors that were playing ridiculous games with me, I felt at such a young age that their actions truly backed their words. What they said about Jesus was credible to me because I felt the love they had for me.
Fortunately, my time at GAC did not stop after I was a camper. In fact, in some ways it was only the beginning. I always knew that I wanted to work at my favorite place on earth, so when I was 15 I eagerly seized the chance to serve as “support staff” or LIT. It was during my time on support staff that I truly learned what it meant to be a servant. I cooked, cleaned, set up games, and cleaned some more, and it was a BLAST. As a young teen I learned what it meant to become Christ’s hands and feet, and I believe this was crucial to the way I lived my life the other 300 something days of the year that I was not at camp.
Following time spent on support staff, I was able to serve as a counselor. I had the opportunity to try to love and serve the girls the same way I felt loved and served by my counselors all those years as a camper. Being a counselor was so much fun, and Jesus taught me so much through each wonderful individual camper in my cabin. From cabin dance parties to team cheers, I always had the best time with my girls. After my years as a counselor concluded, I was even given the opportunity to serve on senior staff. As a 20 year old helping to oversee the logistics of camp, I saw things very differently than I did as a 10 year old simply excited about eating poppy seed chicken, but one thing remained the same- I saw the Lord at work out at camp. I knew it was a safe place, a place to grow and have a blast, a place for God to mold and shape His children, a place to leave different than when you came.