Reflections from Camp Staff Reunion

Dock at sunrise Lake Yale, FL

Alligator stories, bunk beds, the dock at sunrise, and friendships renewed. Last weekend was filled with these things and more as I attended a reunion of camp counselors from Girls in Action (GA)/Acteens camp. We had all served at the camp held at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center during the years that Ruth Bagwell was the GA/Acteens camp director and Acteens consultant for Florida WMU in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Of the 24 who attended, I had worked with many in the 3 summers I served at camp. I had not seen most of these women in years, and it amazed me that we all seemed to pick up our friendships as if there was no time in between. In the beautiful setting at Lake Yale, we laughed, sang, and shared our camp stories.

God was in our midst as we had a time to share about our work and families. It was evident that working at camp had been a strong influence in the direction of our lives. Working with children was a part of many of these women’s lives since camp. I noted that many became school teachers. One worked with children in inner city ministry, one directs a child care center in her church, and another served many years with Florida Baptist Children’s Homes. Missions was in our hearts, too, as stories were told about missions trips. Several serve in their churches currently teaching Mission Friends, GA, or Acteens. Two of these former camp staff have served as missionaries overseas with the International Mission Board, and one served with the North American Mission Board as a Mission Service Corps missionary.

As I walked down the road to the lake, I thought of how God used those summers on camp staff to lead and direct me. Especially in my first summer, He confirmed within me that He was calling me to work with children. I had one year of college behind me, but still was not sure of my major. After that summer of working with children, I knew that I would major in Child Development. Through the training and guidance from our camp director and the examples from other staff, I learned so much about working with children and leading children toward God.

Before we left the camp last weekend, one of the other former staffers said that those years ago, we came to camp to work with children but God did the most work within us. For myself, I learned I could do things I didn’t even know I could do. I also learned that God is calling each one of us to live for Him and to tell the world about Him. I saw the significance I could make by working with children, and that goes with me even today as I teach Mission Friends in my church. Oh, yes, I think it is fun because I get to play Bible hopscotch and make cornstarch play dough in Mission Friends. More significantly, I am leading preschoolers to know that God loves me, God loves all people, and God wants us to tell people about Him. Every week I come to Mission Friends to teach our preschoolers about missions, but I think God still does the most work within me as He opens my eyes to the needs in our world.

Back to Top