Let me start by introducing myself. Not a very interesting or eye-catching way to begin, I’ll admit, but it’s as good a way as any. My name is Kiersten Payne, and I am the Head Female Counselor and Spiritual Life Development person at Camp Amigo this summer. This is my second summer working at camp; last year I worked as a counselor. Last summer was awesome; I made lots of friends, established great relationships with my campers, and grew spiritually. This summer, though, there’s just something—I can’t quite place what—but there is something special about this summer. Already, within the first week and a half of camp, I can feel the Holy Spirit moving.
This summer the staff has been incredibly cohesive. I know that sounds boring and uninteresting, but honestly, it’s the truth, or at least the best way to explain it. Last Thursday, for example, we were planning on having our weekly breakfast cookout as usual. Come time to make breakfast, however, no one could manage to start a fire. As one of those attempting to light a campfire, I can assure you that this was not some fault of inadequate fire-making skills. That’s not saying I’m a superb fire-maker (I only just recently have become more confident in my ability to start a fire—thanks Cheryl), but I watched with my own eyes as I lit the fire with a match and the fire—with plenty of dry kindling—burned briefly before fizzling out. It seems that due to the high humidity in the air, everyone was having similar results. Not wanting to make the children wait hours while we tried unsuccessfully to build fires, we moved everything and everyone into the pavilion. Within minutes of everyone arriving, the staff was in full action mode. A fire was started in the grill in the pavilion, and staffers manned five griddles, frying up bacon, eggs, and hash browns. A table was set up with tableware and beverages, and staffers organized a system for most efficiently getting all the children their food. Other staffers took children to wash their hands, supervised ga-ga ball, generally kept children under control, dished out food, or supplied the other staff with hot beverages (coffee being necessary on a morning like this). One of the greatest aspects of this whole set-up was that it included very little discussion. We didn’t sit and plan or delegate or direct; we just did. Naturally, we conversed as we went, making sure everyone was cared for and on the same page. It seemed to me that all the stress that had been present in the early morning around the campfires evaporated in the effortlessly well-organized system of our Plan B. In fact, I had fun. I even heard some counselors joke that we ought to just do it this way every week!
And this was not some isolated incident. I’ll not recount everything, or you’d be here all day, but believe me when I tell you that I have seen again and again how wonderful this group of counselors, resources, and leadership is. We all feel comfortable with each other; we have scaled a twelve-foot wall, blessed a marriage, and survived the numerous safety drills of orientation week together. If this is what the first week and a half or so of camp has been, I can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer holds.