Summer Staff Guest Blogger, Week 5

Each week of summer camp, we are offering a chance for one of our Summer Staffers to write a post about their experiences. This week’s guest blogger is Michael McNeely, a third year staffer who is working as a Ropes Course/Nature Director.

My name is Michael McNeely and I am a third year summer staffer. The past two
summers I have been a Resident Counselor and a Lifeguard. This Summer I am the
Ropes and Nature Director, and for the most part I stay fairly busy. The part of my job
that keeps me the busiest is definitely the Ropes half.

The Ropes course consists of 5 different elements; Climbing Tower, Giant Swing or
Swing by Choice, Pamper Pole, Challenge Course, and a Ground Zip line. It is important
to me to give as many people that want to participate in an element the opportunity. The
experience you can get hanging, climbing, zipping, or swinging from 20 to 40 feet above
the ground is one that nothing else can compare to at camp. There is a rush involved in
each element that is very unique. Whether it is the rush of just hanging up high, scooting
off of a 40 foot platform, or speeding down a 400 foot zip line; some funny feeling will
definitely tickle your stomach. That is unless your stomach ends up in your throat (most
likely to happen from the giant swing).

Each visit by an individual to an element is always a success. A successful visit to
the Ropes course is not determined by whether or not they are able to complete the
element, but instead success is determined by the person participating. For instance,
if someone only wants to climb half way up the Climbing Tower and then come back
down, they have succeeded by completing their goal. That is all we want for anyone who
participates. Success is not based on what anyone else thinks except for you. Thus is the
reason for the motto of the Ropes Course “Challenge by Choice.”

So far this summer, my job has been nothing short of fantastic, and this week was no
different. The lone senior high camp passed through this week. This camp is generally
one of the most spiritually filling weeks of the Summer for everyone involved. With
that being said, it was amazing to see so many campers in such a short period of time
grow tremendously in their faith. There was even a camper that announced that the
experience he had at camp changed his religious beliefs from pretty much none at all to
acknowledging God was in his life whole heartedly. I remember having this particular
camper at the high ropes course one afternoon and having no idea a change like this was
taking place in his life. Looking back on the afternoon now I think it is safe to say that
his time on the course was success. Not because of anything he did there, but just for the
change that he was allowing to happen at the moment and over the course of the week. It
did not take the leap of faith and the courage that we typically refer to on the course for
him to recognize the presence of God, but instead a combination of the two that is truly
life changing

For me the summer is now a success knowing that someone has had their life changed
after they built up the courage and took the leap of faith that hopefully all of us will one
day experience.

My prayer for you is that we can all open our hearts and minds to the love and grace of God and the that we will acknowledge his presence in everything we do.

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