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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Camp Lesson 1: Facebook, Four Doors, & Foolproof Plans

{I leave for camp in 13 days. No I'm not a camper (I'm too old otherwise I totally would be). I'm a counselor and I have been for the past two summers. With the proximity of my leaving date, it takes everything in me not to think <insert obsess> about camp.So I'm trying to be productive and write about all my experiences and the things I've learned but that would involve a blog the size of an encyclopedia. So instead I'm going to write a series of blogs. This first one is basically about how I ended up at my camp! Enjoy!}

I decided to work at a summer camp because Facebook said to. Seriously, I'm not kidding. Ok well my fixations with summer camps did start long before FB. It started with a show called Bug Juice. But I never seriously considered working at one until one morning (to give you a timeline it was late January 2009) I was praying about what I should do for the summer. The summer before I had done a Christian Leadership program called e3, beat teen pregnancy <insert I turned twenty> and went to South Africa (a dream come true). All in all it was a pretty great.  So I simply prayed that I would have another great summer, just like my last. Not five seconds after I closed my prayer with a pretty please and logged onto facebook, did I notice an ad that said verbatim "Want to Have a Great Summer? Work at a Summer Camp!"

I figured that I couldn't ask for a clearer answer. So I took that as my sign, and I set out to work at a summer camp. I spent the day goggling camps. (Did you know that there are more than 8000 residential camps in the US...I didn't either, I just googled it). Now I had no idea what kind of camp I wanted to work at. Christian vs. Non Christian? All Girl vs. Coed? Structured vs. Not? Florida is dreadful during the summer, so I knew didn't want to work there. I narrowed down my choices even more when I decided I wanted to work in one of two states; Michigan(my dad/almost all my family lives there) or North Carolina (my favorite state). Based on my above criteria I picked 4 camps and split it right down the middle. I picked 2 Christian, 2 non-Christian, 2 in Michigan,...and so on and so on.

Within a couple of weeks I had sent in all my applications and I prayed that only one door would open. You see I believed that I would get into all of them because well I was that fabulous of a candidate <insert my over inflated ego>. Now I was already leaning towards two camps and I made this known in my prayers. A friend from home was going to be working at one of the camps in North Carolina and the idea of knowing someone was comforting. The other camp I liked was in Michigan, close to where my dad lives. My little sister, Kaitlin, had just been born, so I could potentially spend my days off with her. So I journaled consistently about these two camps as I waited to here back from them. All along not really knowing why I was keeping the other two camps around.

Little did I know, that most camps start hiring people in the fall. Were talking like late September/early October. So I was coming into the game rather late, but I didn't know this. So it came as quite a shock when I received an email from my friends camp, saying that they were full. But it was no big deal, there was still 3 other camps, and I prayed for only one door, so this was good. Well it wasn't long after my first dismissal, that I received a second email , from the camp near my dads, saying that though I was a great candidate, they were full, and to re-apply next year. The two camps I had my sight set on had rejected me...great. Oh and did I mention that somewhere in between the two rejection emails, I realized that one of the other camps was a Jewish camp? Yeah I figured that out when I noticed the camp offered Hebrew lessons as a class (at first I was like hey that's cool but wait what 8 yr old wants to take Hebrew lessons). Now I have no problem with Jews, heck I love Jews, Jesus was a Jew. But I figured that since I put on my application that I was a Christian <insert I believe Jesus is the messiah and not a prophet> that  I wouldn't be hearing back from that camp (and I was right).

That didn't even matter because I didn't want that camp anyways (and I'm not saying that as some jilted lover...I really didn't). And I didn't really care that there was still one camp available. Because I had already decided what camp(s) I wanted. And I figured since I didn't get into those, then the signals must have gotten crossed. I must have heard wrong. I wasn't meant to work at a summer least not this summer. Maybe I was just suppose to hang out. Relax by the pool, eat Italian ice, go see Harry Potter on opening day, you know fun summer stuff. I had a plan in my head and when things didn't go according to how I saw them, I created a new plan. 

 I think we (myself included) do this all the time. We have vision (dream/goal/ambition/idea/whatever you want to call it), we make a plan, and we set out to make it happen. And when things don't go according to our plan we create a new one. Well that's a great when it's your vision to begin with. But it's different when the vision originates with someone else. The vision of working at a summer camp, did not begin in me. I prayed for direction on what I should do with my summer and I believe through Facebook, God lead me to pursue working at a summer camp. It was His vision to begin with. But somewhere in between me seeing that ad on Facebook and applying to the camps, I took over. And when things didn't go the way I planned, I was ready to throw the towel on a lounge chair and lay by the pool <insert give up>.

It's hard when you try to take over someone else's vision, because you don't have the whole picture. You can only see what's been shown to you. I saw the comfort that would come from either having a friend at camp or my family close by. I couldn't see what the end result of me going to a camp where I didn't know anybody and my closest relatives were seven hours away would be. But God knew because it was His vision to begin with. The bible says (I like how the NLT says it) in Isaiah 55:8 "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the Lord "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine." He knew from the beginning which camp I was meant to be at.

God used the final camp's website (seriously I cried while watching the camp video) and a long phone conversation with one of the camps amazing directors, to help me recapture His vision. I ended up getting into that camp. I ended up going there for the entire summer, not knowing a single soul and hours away from anyone I knew. I ended up growing as a person more than I could have ever imagined. And that's the great thing about God's plans, they're foolproof. Meaning they are impervious to human incompetence, error, and misuse. And thank God because otherwise I would have missed out on one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The lesson I learned here applies to much more than how I choose my summers. Realizing that God has a vision for my entire life has transformed the way I live. So no matter how far you may feel from God's vision for your life, know that He's always willing to help you recapture it. Hope you enjoyed! 


  1. So excited about seeing You at That camp real soon.
    Kendall H

  2. Love it! So what will you be doing this summer?

  3. Love this and love God and His foolproof plans!