Loving the Kids
This last blog in this series is going to leave the curriculum…kind of. The curriculum is the reason the kids come in the first place, but it isn’t necessarily why they come back year after year. No matter how good the curriculum is, it is essentially a vehicle to all the teachers and other leaders to connect with the kids.
One of the benefits of working at a camp is the connection you can make with the campers/students in such a short time. A camp is a unique setting where in just a week’s time you can really get to know someone. When you are constantly near someone else, bonds are naturally going to be formed.
At this camp there was an encouragement board where you could stick little notes inside telling others why you appreciated them. Leaders and students all had an envelope, and it made for a nice way to give someone a pick-me-up for the day.
As I was watching the interactions between the campers and leaders, I began to realize why it is that some of these kids come back year after year. It isn’t because the curriculum is incredible, though that can be a part of it. It isn’t because they leave with more English language than they arrived, which they totally did. What I saw was these kids being loved by strangers. People from the US, Germany, the UK and the Netherlands all came together to love on these kids: to listen when they needed an ear, to give them a hug when they were hurt, to be ridiculous with them, to say the words they needed to hear. They all needed to hear that God loved them just as they are, and though this wasn’t a Christian camp, I saw our leaders showing them God’s love when they couldn’t say it – and saying it when they could. Those kids were loved and that is why they will come back.