Summer 2015

The photos in my phone’s camera roll is mostly filled with photos of me, my family, saved photos from the internet, and screenshots. Whenever I see something that I like or want to remember I take a screenshot of it. In the photo below, I took a screenshot of this cookie from Instagram because it reminded me of an amazing time in my life.

In the summer of July 2015, I served as a summer staff volunteer at Young Life’s Timber Wolf Lake Camp in Lake City, MI. I just finished graduate school that May and God was pressing on me to find a place to volunteer. He led me to Young Life when I had no interest in ministry or working with kids. When I look back on the experience, I’m grateful for His leading in my life. Volunteering there was one of the best experiences I had. I met people from all walks of life there and made lifelong friends.

Young Life is a Christian nonprofit that aims to share the love of Jesus by building relationships with kids from all backgrounds of life. One of the many ways in which we do this is by taking kids to summer camp. Every summer, in Young Life camps across the world, kids come to a Young Life Camp for a week with their local leader. At the camp, there are many volunteers serving there insuring that the week those kids spend there is the best time in their life. The volunteers range from teenagers who serve over the summer as work crew volunteers and college students who serve as summer staff volunteers.

The summer staff volunteer responsibilities varied. Their roles ranged from working the ropes course, serving as a lifeguard, attending the go carts, working in the snack bar, cleaning laundry and landscaping. I served as the sound tech assistant. That meant working with the program team to create a conducive environment for Young Life to get their message across to the kids who came to camp. Each week a fresh batch of campers from all over America came to have an awesome time at camp while we joyously served them in an atmosphere where we could introduce them to Jesus.

One of the best times of the day was when it was time to eat. Whether it was breakfast, lunch, or dinner the food was on point! Once a week during dinner time, they would serve a dessert called “big cookie“. It’s a warm, freshly baked, delicious, giant cookie that you shared with your table. I remember when I first saw the work crew volunteers bring it to our table. You could literally smell the aroma of the cookie at your table. They put a fresh dose of vanilla ice cream right in the center of the cookie. Once it landed on your table people grabbed their spoon and started eating the cookie right out the pan.

When I first witnessed this my internal reaction was, “what the hell?” People were digging in with their reused spoon! I would always make sure that I cut a piece that nobody ate off of, or get my piece first. My aversion to sharing used silverware aside, the cookie tasted awesome. When I saw the photo above on the Young Life Instagram page it brought back many warm memories of my time serving at camp there.