There is a clause in every Frontier Camp summer staff contract which says a staffer will “contribute in every way possible” to the ministry of Frontier Camp, and we ask our staff to serve and contribute in many different ways. This can, and does, include everything from cleaning toilets, dressing up in silly costumes, working outside in the sun for hours, waking up in the middle of the night to help a camper, and so much more. Hands-on ministry experience teaches a lot of spiritual and life lessons on service, hard-work, humility, character, and spiritual maturity. It is one of the blessings of camp ministry to watch how God works in the lives of not only the campers they serve, but also the staff members themselves who are being shaped and molded by God through their service to Him here at camp.
A former staffer (and camper!) recently shared these encouraging words of reflection with us on her time serving the Lord in ministry on summer staff here, and how God is still using those long, hot summer days in her life. It was encouraging to us, and we hope it will be encouraging to you as well, whether you are a former staffer, the parent of a staffer or camper, or a friend of camp who prays for the impact camp has in the lives of kids, teens, and young adults.
Since graduating from college two weeks ago, I am back in College Station and on the job hunt. When I returned to my room that I shared with my sister, I immediately wanted to clean and organize everything, starting with the bathroom.
I made a list of what I wanted to tackle, and that immediately reminded me of cabin clean-up, end-of-week checkouts, and even end-of-session/summer closing.
I told my parents after finishing: “Every time I clean a toilet, I think of Frontier Camp.”
That sounds super weird, and probably not at all what y’all intended for former staffers to take with them away from camp and into the real world, but it means a lot to me.
I still remember work crew and cleaning toilets for what seemed like all day, every day. I remember feeling humbled. I’ll never forget the way the sweat drips down your neck and into your eyes while you lean down to sweep or scrub, especially in those humid TP bathrooms. But I loved it.
I also remember being so excited to be in a cabin when I was a Junior Counselor that I wanted to clean ALL THE TOILETS, since it meant I finally got to be a counselor and serve Jesus and kids.
And I especially remember being a Senior Counselor at Fossil Creek, being so proud to clean those BRAND NEW toilets and feeling thankful for how camp had grown and changed since I was a teen camper myself.
The fact of the matter is: Every single person who works at camp is going to clean a toilet or two, if not many more. To me, this is the essence of servant leadership. We do every task, no matter how menial or gross, to further the Kingdom of God and the message He desires us to share with every camper and parent and retreat group, etc.
To be joined together in Christ, cleaning toilets, amongst all the other incredibly fun and weird things we get to do while working at camp, was a rare and special gift to me.
Every time I clean a toilet, I think of Holly asking me to do it again (no hard feelings at all, haha!) and getting the front and the sides and the back, because “even if the parents can’t see it, you still know it’s dirty.” That push for excellence sticks with me.
I think of how we set up a living place in which to do God’s work, show kids the love of Jesus, and help them to have the best week possible in His creation.
Many thanks for all each of you has done to better my servant leadership and encourage me to walk closer with Jesus.
Thank you for pouring into me and the other staffers that worked during my years, and I hope and pray this summer will be sweet and fulfilling for each of you.
As our summer season ramps up, please be praying for the continued work the Lord is doing through the ministry of Frontier Camp this summer!
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This is so funny because camp taught me how to clean a toilet! I remember Wes Woodard showing everyone at staff training. I don’t think of camp every time I clean one, but it definitely was a part of my experience and even how I clean today.