Following The Leadership Trail
Camp made a huge impact on me when I first went at 15. I didn’t have any Christian friends my age… I wasn’t even sure if there were any other Christian teenagers in Perth! I viewed camp as the first week of my year, the week that charged me up to persevere as a Christian for the rest of the year. Those friendships were a great encouragement for the rest of my life and around my non-Christian friends at school.
On camp I loved learning about God’s graciousness to us in sending his Son. All I need to do is repent and believe in Him. Each year a camp community grew over the week, and my favourite part was always the small group discussions where we had time to chat about life’s big issues.
The first camp I ever went on (formerly Windsurfing Camp), I was so nervous I was actually crying as I got on the bus. But after I arrived it took no time at all for me to feel comfortable. I returned every year, and now I’ve notched up around 10 years as a leader.
My closest friends on camp for the last two years of being a camper were actually the leaders; I looked up to them and thought ,“They’re so cool, I want to be like that.” I was really excited to be a leader – they were cool, relatable, normal people who were fun and worshipped God and could have proper conversations. I didn’t have any friends in my normal life who were Christians who I could have deep conversations with.
I became a leader because it felt like a natural progression – if you had come to camp for a few years and had accepted Jesus as your Saviour and Lord, you would join the leadership team. In my first couple of years leading, everything was very new to me, including learning how to be an adult in general. I was only given a few responsibilities and paired with an older leader to run small group discussions. That was really great as I had lots to learn and was quite nervous.
Over the years I have gradually taken on more responsibilities. I’ve found that being a camp leader complements the other leading I do at church, and my responsibilities at work too. All the experiences work together to grow life skills, each role improving the other.
In Acts, Paul constantly takes a sidekick along with him on his missions, to teach them how ministry is done. That person is then equipped to have a trainee of their own. Even though SU camps only last for one week a year, they are a great opportunity for the campers to first of all hear about Jesus, and then to go on to become leaders. We had 7 new leaders from Beach camp attend SU Lead program this year, and be trained in what it means to be a Christian leader. Now they get to come on camp to put what they’ve learned into practice.
I’m really looking forward to seeing how God will work through them to share his Word to campers who attend Beach camp in January 2019!