By Joe Torosian
“Arise! For this matter is your responsibility, but we will be with you; be courageous and act.”—Ezra 10:4
How is your cabin today? Have you checked on them?
It’s a pretty standard camp director’s question to a cabin counselor as they walk to the dining hall or towards the campfire for the evening’s chapel service. The counselor gives the update, the director encourages the counselor because the director knows without the counselor, there is no camp.
I’ve worked summer camp nearly every year since 1985.
I’ve been the assistant flunky, to the assistant flunky running games, counselor, activities director, security, small groups guy, dean, director, speaker, and producer (the guy who walks around for a week doing nothing but looking important).
What you bring back from a summer camp experience are great memories, the connection with new friends and a commitment/recommitment to the Lord. All awesome stuff. But there’s a lot of things you can’t bring back home and back to school with you.
You can’t bring back the speaker, even if you have access to his or her messages online.
You can’t bring back the music, even if you have access to the worship leader’s recordings.
You can’t bring back all those friends, games, laughter, or marvelous food.
The same applies to the director, activities leader, cabin counselors, and students…You just can’t replicate camp back home. So you generally count the days, weeks, months until you return…And even then, though similar and memorable, it is unable to replicate the feelings and moments from the previous summer.
Camp is much like a theater experience. The poor players strut and fret their hour upon the stage…and then the hour passes, the audience leaves and the sets are torn down.
That’s a long intro to get to this one thing…There is something you can bring back from camp. Especially as a young adult or adult.
For the students, we encourage them to put into practice what they learned during their week at Granite Ridge, Hume, Tara Pines, Forest Home, The Oaks, or Idyllwild Pines. The counselor, however, usually settles back into their routine at work and with family. But when they were at camp as a counselor, they were always checking on their cabin. They counted to make sure their students were at meals, in their bunks at the end of the day, at their small group and attending the activities.
As counselors, they were checking to see if their students were holding up. Did they feel connected, were they getting involved, or gently inquiring about a possible case of homesickness.
They were the first ones to pray for the young person in their cabin, wipe away the tears, and clean a scraped knee….And who are they doing this for? They are doing it for—many of them—for students they don’t know, don’t attend their church, and will only be around for one week out of their entire life.
But in that one week, during the production of a hurricane of amazing memories, the first person remembered is often the cabin counselor. Hero or villain, jerk or awesome, the cabin counselor is the backbone of any successful camp operation. The cabin counselor is the one with the potential to affect the life of another forever.
Did you know that beyond family you have your own cabin to take care of? Whether you went to camp or not, you have a cabin of people—children/teens/adults—that God has placed in your life, in your cabin.
Beyond the preacher, the worship leader, the Sunday School teacher, you have the most direct influence in their lives. If they see you as a believer, as someone who claims to be a follower of Christ, you have a position of influence whether you know it or not.
Are you checking on your cabin?
“Who is my cabin?”
Your cabin is anyone that the Lord has brought into your life. The checker/clerk at the supermarket, the bank teller, the person you buy coffee from while pumping gas, your neighbor, your friend from school that you reconnected with on social media and now have an occasional lunch with.
All of these people are in your cabin. Are you checking on them? Are you helping with their pains, tears, sharing their joys, helping mend their wounds—are you giving them encouragement?
We teach at camp but do we practice that teaching back home?
Never been to camp? Too bad, but guess what? You have a cabin. As believers, we don’t live unto ourselves, we live unto Him. Him who saved us, Him who checks on us, Him who restores joy when there were tears, and Him who heals our souls when they are broken
So how is your cabin today? Have you checked on them?
Joe T. is the author of “Tangent Dreams: A High School Football Novel” … “Temple City & The Company of The Ages” … “The Dead Bug Tales” … “The Dark Norm” & “FaithViews for Storm Riders”…all available through Amazon.com.