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Here's To You: Encouragement for Camp Leaders from Beth Allison

24 Mar 2021 4:38 PM | Jen Burch (Administrator)

Here’s to you...

Here’s to the dozens of noses you will wipe, the bruises you will ice, 

and the scrapes you will bind.

Here’s to the hundreds of songs you will sing,  the tables you will set, 

and the toilets you will plunge.

Here’s to marshmallows and sticky fingers

to G chords and broken strings

to bracelets and bobbles, beads and boondoggle

to packing, portaging, and paddling

to offsides, learning scales, and puddle jumping

to taking the wet life jacket so your camper can have the last dry one

to never sitting down to eat when you are counselling the 7 year olds

and carrying your littlest campers to bed who fall asleep during campfire

Here’s to washing pee stained sleeping bags first thing in the morning 

and cleaning up vomit in the middle of the night

Here’s to being chosen by your camper to disclose their very worst secret

and to being there to witness their very best moment

Here’s to disagreeing with your colleague on virtually everything 

and still figuring out a way to make it work

To being supervised by a close friend and not getting your nose out of joint

To being told by a director that you messed up 

and doing your best to take the lesson from it not just the hurt feelings

Here’s to wearing your clothes inside out because you missed 

your laundry day…again

To remembering to wear your hat, your sunscreen and drink lots of water,

To putting your best effort forward every time you look into a microscope, 

shoot an arrow, or head out on a hike

Here’s to the adrenaline you’ll feel when the horn goes

to the fatigue you’ll feel when the morning bell rings

to the relief you’ll feel when your last camper gets in the car

and the goose bumps you’ll feel when the harmonies at campfire are perfectly tight

Here’s to the helicopter parents, the bulldozer parents,

The ones you will put crying into their cars as they leave their baby for the first time,

Here’s to the pastors who support you and those who don’t get camp at all

Here’s to board members, alumni and family camp die-hards who will spoil you, write to you, and pray for you

Here’s to the health inspector who will show up at the most inconvenient of times,

the church groups who generously give of their time

and the parents and families who love to hear your singing most of the time

Here’s to throwing pots, shooting shots, and making stained glass

to counting your campers at every activity to make sure you have them all,

to gaga ball pits, cooking lessons, and ukulele classes

Here’s to dressing up as magical characters  

and to the giggling campers who always buy into the magic

Here’s to children who would prefer to wear nothing but their bathing suits and rubber boots for a entire week

to those who cover their ears during loud songs and thunder storms

to the ones who cling to Mummy on the first day of camp 

and to you on the last

Here’s to the Chapels, Bible Studies and Vespers that make you question 

and the songs of praise that give you answers 

here’s to having a spiritual moment or two every day that gives you pause

and at least one this summer that makes you realize how truly small you are and how big God really is

Here’s to a summer that leaves you so tired, you had no idea that kind of

tired even existed,

to a summer filled with sunsets and star gazing, late night chats and early morning paddles

to singing until you are hoarse, and playing until you are sore,

to laughing ‘til you cry and crying ‘til you’re spent

Here’s to knowing the importance of apologizing

and seeking first to understand before being understood.

Here’s to letting go of all you don’t need

and holding on tight to all you do

Here’s to the friendships that will last you a lifetime

to those who became your university roommates,

your bridesmaids, your birth coach, 

your spouse.

To watching their babies grow up and them grow old.  

Here’s to never being ashamed to admit you were wrong

and knowing it shows you are wiser today than yesterday.

To not waiting for opportunities but creating them.

To never trying to influence the world by trying to be like it.

And to knowing that it’s not what you do for your campers but what you teach them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.

Here’s to your heartaches, your frustrations, your ‘end of your rope’ moments

and to coming out the other side

stronger, wiser, and filled with gratitude

Here’s to becoming a true leader...and to remembering true leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.

Here’s to cherishing every moment you are given in your place

To giving away love and grace like you’re made of the stuff

to being inspired because that’s pretty great

and to inspiring others because that is ubba-awesome

Here’s to serving with honour and grace

here’s to you, the staffs of 2021

to you who have taken up the torch

of those who have gone before 

and who will keep it burning brightly until you pass it on to those 

who will come after 

Here’s to making a difference and changing the world

Here’s to you...here’s to you

Here’s to Camp

– Beth Allison, Go Camp Pro

(Shared at UMCRM Community Conversation, 3/22/21. Beth gives permission for you to customize to your setting and share with your own staff.)

The Camp Song, by Peter Katz, with #thankstocamp moments from Canadian camps

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