I heard this quote the other day and it really got me thinking about my place in the world. Be ready, this goofy camp director is about to get deep!
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.” -Henry David Thoreau
When I embarked on my career after college, I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted to work for a company with people who valued each other; whose bottom line was the people they served. I wanted to work with people who modeled Christianity. I wanted to make a difference and lay down at night knowing that what I did mattered.
As it turns out, God supported those aspirations. I took a job in the Texas Hill Country working for a Boy’s home. Being from Michigan, it was a pretty big leap of faith to pack up and move despite not knowing a single person in Texas. It was here that I found some of my closest friends. I created my “Texas Family!” I met so many people whose goals matched my own. These friends went to work each day and gave their all to these little boys who needed them so badly. As I look back on those years, I can’t help but ache to have them back! We worked sixty hours a week and still volunteered to pick up shifts. It wasn’t for the money; it was because we believed in those boys and believed in the people around us. It was here that I met the love of my life, my husband. His faith matched my own, he was a hard worker, smart, optimistic, fun and he adored kids.
My life was on track… and then it wasn’t. This place that I grew to love with people whom I consider family still to this day closed. My heart ached, but since Justin and I were expecting a baby, I knew I had to do the right thing and support our family by any means necessary. So, I went to work and it was WORK. Nothing came easy! I had two and sometimes three jobs to support our little growing family. I worked for places and hospitals I would have never ethically considered in the past, but the money was good and it allowed my husband to pursue his goals as a chemical dependency counselor. Somewhere in the midst of all this work, I lost myself.
I had become callused and not the person I knew. I dreaded going to work and ached for just an afternoon with my kids. My “never give up” spirit, creativity and unwavering optimism had turned into a festering pessimism that made me sick on the inside. Who was this person? And why did I allow myself to work for material rather than for God? Where were all my values now? My self-worth was depleting and I allowed people all around me to treat me with disrespect. This pitiful road I was on was a dead end and I knew it. I knew that the only way I could re-claim myself was to follow God’s path for me. So, I bravely told my husband, “I cannot do this job. I want to work with kids again and it’s going to mean I’m going to make significantly less money. “ Because Justin is who he is, he supported me all the way. He was willing to move and do whatever necessary so that I could follow God’s plan for me and re-gain myself.
Coming to Vista and being a camp Director has opened up a life for me like I had back when I first moved to Texas. I love hearing, “So what do you do the rest of the year?” Some camp directors would get annoyed by this question, but frankly I LOVE it! I love that people think my job is so laid back and the coolest job on the planet…because frankly, IT IS! I don’t care that I work far more than forty hours a week. I don’t care that I’m often doing things that, let’s just say they aren’t in the job description like plunging toilets and cleaning out the inside of a moldy blob. I’m surrounded by family that will willingly be alongside me. A family that believes in the bottom line together.
The kids we serve are our number one priority. It’s an honor to be a part of their life on an organic level without the pressures of the world. I love that I get the opportunity to watch a child grow into a fantastic young adult in a society that underestimates its youth. The campers that come through the gates are family and are treated as such. I love that camp is adventurous and filled with friendships that last a lifetime. I love that kids actually get to know each other on a deeper level.
Now, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t talk about my favorite aspect of being a camp director, the counselors. I say this every year, but every year counselors inspire me to become a better teacher, better mother and a better person. I love that our campers revere our counselors like movie stars. I love that my own small girls cry because they miss their favorite counselors from camp.
We do come to camp to live deliberately! We come here year after year to connect, really connect. To set down our daily struggles and really live for each other. We know that camp is truly about the people we meet and the person we become from doing so.
93 Days till Camp!!!