The sweatiest job I ever loved

From standing over the steam table to serve chicken-fried-whatever with gravy to running around with day campers to life-guarding to cleaning the entire camp in a few hours for the next group that was coming, they are some of the hottest, hardest but most treasured memories that I have.

But more than the heat, I remember who I served with and how God used these people and their examples in their faith, their work, their growth and their love to mold parts of me and who I am today.

We were a team of college students and high school volunteers that spent hours doing hard, dirty and hot work. Our sun up to way past sun down routine included cleaning, preparing meals, providing recreation, working with media, running a Day Camp along side the other camps, working the Snack Shack, and maintaining campus facilities.

You can imagine, by reading the list above, that there were lots of parts of the job that weren't fun and I didn't always do my work with the right attitude. But we were led by a group of Godly men and women who taught us and showed us with their own lives how to do the hard work of making the camp run in a way where we wouldn't be a distraction from what what God had for the campers that week. We were pushed by those leaders out of our comfort zones towards our potentials. We were taught to give of ourselves so our guests could walk away having experienced Christ's love through their week of camp activities and also through our service.

And even with all of our responsibilities, God would create a space for us to make friendships and be able to be a part of the campers lives for the week. We built relationships, encouraged them and in some cases had a chance to share the Gospel with them.

We also developed lifelong friendships with the people we served along side and got practical, hands-on work experience as we walked through the joy of serving others in Christ's name.

Even though the faces of the staff have changed over the years, Camp Chaparral and all of our Texas Baptist camps hold a special place in my heart. They minister to guests all throughout the year, but in the summer months they provide a chance for unique ministry and place for service as thousands of students and adults make their way through the gates for a time of separation from the world.

Watch Share for some first hand experiences from some of our Texas Baptist camps as they serve this summer. Until then, find the Texas Baptist camp nearest you and find out what's going on for the rest of their summer. Contact them and ask them how you can pray or if you can help not-be-noticed along side them.

By Ashli Young, mom and missions team member during the summers of 1995-1999 at Camp Chaparral in Iowa Park, TX

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