For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been accepted as a Disciples Peace Fellow this summer. It means that I’ll be spending my whole summer traveling to various summer camps across the nation – spreading ideas about social justice and peace to young people all over the United States. Part of the reason I chose to pursue this opportunity is because I have so much faith in the power of youth to positively impact the world. The past week has only served to solidify that belief, and I’m sure that the weeks to come will continue to bolster my faith in the next generation.
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.1 Timothy 4:12
I am a preparer. I was prepared to present my workshops. I was prepared to deal with any backlash I could have received. I was prepared to sleep less, to be more energized, to constantly be out in nature. I made lists. I packed carefully. In my opinion, I had done everything that I could think of to be prepared for this journey.
I was not prepared, however, for my first week of camp. I was not prepared to be loved, and to give love, so fully this past week. I was not prepared for the joy I would feel when campers connected to the workshops I was giving. I was not prepared to bond so readily with strangers, only to have to leave when the week was over. I was not prepared to let go, knowing that I would likely not be back soon. Overall, I was not prepared for the emotional rollercoaster that would be my first week, and I don’t know if it will get any easier to leave each camp. These campers are astounding individuals who are thoughtful, who care about others, who have a passion for peace.
I feel honored to be able to do the work that I am this summer, it’s already been so transformational. Thank you Kamp Kaleo, for making sure that my first ever week at camp was one to remember. Here’s to feeling a little more prepared for the end of this week, with the understanding that there are some things you can’t prepare yourself for.