The Echo program is one in which high school students pay to come to camp for two weeks to do our dishes and take out our trash. They also go out to different places in the community and do service projects there and when they are not working for the benefit of others, they are usually to be found learning about what it means to actually live the life that Christ calls us to. These kids are in high school and are getting exposure to authors that I had not heard of until a year ago. Needless to say the Echo program is literally life changing.
On a similar scale is our Summit program. The difference is that this program takes in high school students and teaches them how to guide rafts down the river and how to guide a group through the wilderness and how to safely manage groups on our ropes course. Basically they are trained to be staff members for two weeks while getting poured into spiritually as well. It really is a fantastic program.
Last week I had the opportunity to sit down with one of our Summit students who, as it turns out, does not yet have a real relationship with Christ. More or less I kind of stumbled into this conversation without really moving. I was just reading a book and he was having a conversation with the Summit director near by and when the director left to talk to someone else momentarily, this young man invited me into the conversation. This was by far the highlight of my week. His questions and concerns were so real and genuine and his emotions were honest and true. He was expressing himself in a way that very few high school students I have known could. I think he is about to embark on the beginning of an adventurous story that will lead him far away from what he has known and into a place where he will be seriously transformed by the love and power of the living God.
I realized that night that camps exist largely so that the campers who come can see how big and how powerful God really is, and on the same scale, for the people who work at the camps to see the same thing. Then campers and staff members can actually be growing together in largely the same ways, but often with different levels of understanding on the point. Sometimes I think the campers actually understand what is going on more than the staff members do.