Going to camp has always been the highlight of my summer. For as long as I can remember, I have set aside at least one week each summer, strengthening my relationship with God. While I have experienced this at many different camps, from the first time I went to Camp Otterbein, “God’s Backyard,” it felt like home.
I first came to Otterbein in 2005 with Reynoldsburg United Methodist Church. As a camper, I remember the excitement of experiencing all that camp had to offer. I also remember how the staff brought every experience back to learning about our faith. It didn’t matter if we were in the mud pit or swimming, I always got asked the questions, “How can we relate this to our faith?” or “What did you learn about working together with each other?”
For the past four years, I have had the amazing opportunity to work at Camp Otterbein. As meaningful as being a camper was, working here has been life changing. I started working as a counselor during my summer breaks. For 10 weeks every summer, I took all of my worries and stress from school and lifted them up to God. Even though it is only 10 weeks a year, the time I spend at camp is the most meaningful part of my life.
As a mechanical engineering student at Miami University, I had a lot of pressure to use my summers working at an internship and gaining experience in my field. While most of what I do in the summer doesn’t feel like “work,” it is 100% life-gaining experience. It has taught me responsibility: caring for and leading a new group of children each week; perseverance: working each day to break down barriers for kids to open up with each other; and it has taught me to have fun and experience everything that God has created for us.
This past summer, I got the opportunity to be the Program Leader. I was responsible for planning and scheduling everything at camp. I also served as a leader to the other staff members as well as the campers. I was someone they could come to talk to for guidance or to pray with. While God sent us new challenges each day, together as a staff, we put on one of Camp Otterbein’s most successful summers ever and had the opportunity to reach more lives than ever before.
I graduated in May from Miami University. Camp has given me leadership skills as I follow God’s call and head for a year in the Peace Corps.