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 Katie Taylor, a first year staffer who is working as Program Utilities Facilitator.
My name is Katie Taylor, and I am the Program Utilities Facilitator – more
commonly known as the PUF – this year on summer staff. In this position, I bring and/or
cook food for the smaller Wilderness and Oxley camps on a daily basis, and for the main
camps, I manage the canteen. Additionally, I am responsible for Walmart runs
throughout the week and for shuttling water to the ropes courses.
Before working on staff this summer, I had been a camper at Lakeshore from
2002 to 2008, starting first at the primary camp, graduating to Wilderness, and ending
with summers at Jr. and Sr. High main camps. In the midst of preparing for college and
the business that entails, I didn’t come back to camp until last year, where I was a
volunteer counselor for Sr. High Hope (Oxley) and for a Junior High camp. During those
two weeks, I fell in love with camp all over again. With that being said, I could not be
more ecstatic that I have gotten to spend two months here already.
As I have gotten older, I often find that one major theme has stuck with me: the
need and want to love other people. I remember discussing with other counselors our
various love languages – the way we express love and like to receive it –, and though I
am learning, I think that mine are quality time and acts of service. Here at camp, those
love languages are convenient to express, and I enjoy that kind of environment. I can tell
the kids do, too! While many of the kids with whom I work have that kind of expressed
love at home, there are so many who do not. I remember one particular week talking to a
camper who said that they enjoy camp because they do feel loved here and have never
experienced that love before. Those kinds of responses remind me of why I am here and
renew my purpose for the summer.
The amazing thing about love is that I can purposely express it, but I also have the
ability to witness it. Every week, I help with progressive games, and I find so much joy
in hearing squeals of laughter and seeing smiles written on children’s faces, especially
those of the primary campers that we had last week. That kind of energy and enthusiasm
for life reminds me of God’s presence. In driving up to wilderness camp every morning,
sometimes I just pause and sit in streams of light that find their way past the forest brush
and look at the vibrant green leaves, and I am reminded of how intricate God’s design of
the earth is. And often during worship, in the midst of hearing a couple hundred campers
singing praise, I am reminded of the Father’s extravagant love for His children. So many
little, unplanned things at Lakeshore have made the biggest impact on my summer.
Now, with only three weeks left of camp, I hope that we as a camp can continue
to grow the community we have here. Each kid who comes here has the opportunity to be
enveloped in love, God’s love, and I hope that that love is apparent and life-giving so that
once they leave here, they are motivated to share that love and community with others.
And, as always, please continue to pray for our campers and staff as we progress
through the summer, that we may have the energy to keep doing what we’re doing.