July 2008 Archives
July 30, 2008
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -Jeremiah 29:11
My plans for working at Jumonville were to be on Program Staff this summer and move on to Hope Staff next summer. Hope staff works with Hope Campers that are sent to camp through the money that donors give to Jumonville for these kids, who otherwise would not be able to afford to come to camp. They come from broken homes and torn lives, but they're beautiful and deserve to come to camp, even if they themselves cannot pay for it.
The week after Discovery Camp week, one of the girl counselors from Hope Camp was assigned to dean an Adventure Camp. Because of that, and because of the huge number of campers coming that week, I was assigned to fill in at Hope Camp. I was more then pumped to get the first hand experience with these kids and be able to see if that is what I would want to do next summer.
To say the least it was an interesting week. We talked a lot with the girls about how to be beautiful girls without wearing such immodest clothing and how to love themselves for who they are and to not give in to whatever boys want from them. These kids come from a different lifestyle than most of the counselors and they see different ways of making it in the world, and we had to show them that God has other plans and other ways to make them prosper. So that they don't have to do the drug deals and the girls don't have to stand on the corner at night. But I hope they got it.
Some of the kids that came were unwilling to see any other way to live but the one they knew and were raised in, which is expected, while other kids wanted to give it all up and live the way God wants us all to live. It was a blessing to be in Hope Camp that week. It was a blessing to show how to be beautiful and wear appropriate clothes, it was a blessing to read to them and spend quality time with them, it was a blessing to watch as their attitudes dropped throughout the week and how they cared for each other by the end. It was a blessing to show that God has a plan for each of us and that all we have to do is let go and let Him do what He needs to. It was a blessing to be associated with these kids.
So Hope Camp next summer might not be such a bad idea and maybe God and I finally have a plan that's the same. Jeremiah 29:11 was the verse I clung onto senior year and on into the transition to college. Jeremiah 29:11 is also the verse that is engraved into the pavilion that Jumonville built for Hope Camp's private use.
Discovery Week. Jumonville sets aside one week in the summer to have mentally challenged adults come to camp, it's called Discovery Week.
I had my week off from July 6th -12th, to come back and be assigned to this camp. During my week off I was told that I would not be working with them because they did not need all of the Program Staff so I was going to help out as Lifeguard. But when I returned to the mountain I found out that all of the Program Staff on campus would be working for Discovery Week.
There were five of us, seven volunteer counselors and fourty-four mentally handicapped adult campers. I did not want to work at this camp. I didn't understand how we were supposed to act and how we were supposed to have bible studies and actually teach them anything about God and them actually get it. But to say the least my perspective changed drastically, very quickly.
Because the group was so large, we split them in to three groups. My group was the yellow group. Each day we had music, bible study, and art classes. The music class was supposed to prepare them for the end of the week when the groups would compete in the "Jumonville Idol." So one day we had some extra time in music class before moving on so we asked if anyone had a favorite song to sing. Amazing Grace was the song of choice and we all stood up to sing. By the end of the song we were standing holding hands in a circle in the front of the room and some of the campers (and the music teacher) were in tears.
At that moment I got it. God doesn't make mistakes, God doesn't mess up. So many times these people are said to be a mistake and are good for nothing, and at the beginning of the week I felt that way, because I had no clue how we were supposed to teach these people about God, when really they taught me. He moves how He needs to and through that song and those people singing it, He was able to move in them so they could see Him, without me having to do anything.
I need to remember that I'm not the message, I'm just the messenger, and even though I might not always know how to give the message, God will work through me somehow to show people what He needs to. We all need to drop our agendas and work off of God's.
On Friday night, the Yellow Group won Jumonville Idol.
July 9, 2008
Yes, it's true; I stole a quote from Paris Hilton to be the new title of my blog. You'll get over it. By no means does that mean that I'm a fan of her, but that doesn't mean that sometimes she doesn't say some decent stuff. Like I said, you'll get over it.
I'm currently midway through my only week off this summer from Jumonville. I miss that mountain already. Actually, to tell you the truth, I've missed the mountain since I got in the car to go down it and come two hours in said car all the way back to Ellwood. I'm not going to lie, working there is hard. Much harder than I ever thought it would be. I always wanted to be a counselor there, and now I am and couldn't really tell you how I got there. All of my "co-workers," my friends, seem more qualified than I am and seem like they have everything under firm control, while half the time I'm still wondering what the heck is going on.
But then a camper will tell me something important to them, or they will attach themselves to my side for the rest of the week. A camper from any age will call me their BFF and say that they'll miss me when the week is over, when it's only Monday. I always think I'm not cut out for what goes on up there, and then a camper, out of no where will say that I'm a role model, that they look up to me and that they want to be just like me when they grow up. SAY WHAT!?!??! You what to be like who???
It's during those times that I realize I need to humble myself. I'm not up there to fix me; I'm not up there to deal with my issues, or to figure out the person I'm supposed to be. I'm there to mold children and help them walk the right way, even if I've slipped off that path a couple times. I'm there for campers, not for me. My campers are what make me see that I'm supposed to be up on that mountain. I'm not there to be a better Chelsea; I'm there to show how to be a good person in general. I love my campers. I love when they struggle at something for hours, and they want to give up and I tell them to try one more time and they finally get it. I love that light bulb that goes off during Bible studies and something clicks, and they finally catch on to what I'm trying to teach. I love when they realize that they are loved, that they are cared for and that they are beautiful. I love when they see that they don't need the world to be happy, I love that they really do grow up over that week that we get to spend with them. I hope that all of my campers and all of the campers that have come up the mountain this summer have been blessed. I hope that they were able to keep what they learned and experienced at camp in the front of their minds so they could continue to grow up and be great people. I hope that they never have to slip off the path and that their trip down the mountain and back into the real world wasn't a hard one and that they will be okay until next year when they can come back up again.
I've changed because of training and how tough it was, but I've really changed because of the campers that have shown me what it's like to be young again. To be naive and innocent. To have faith without question. I hope the second half of my summer is able to let me grow through these kids as much as the first half has. I hope it lets me let go of whatever I'm holding on to and really give it all up to God like my campers are able to each week.
What a blessing they really have become. (And they say that I'm the role model?)