Like ripples flowing from the point where a stone hits the water, the choices we make everyday spread out from us and impact others.
John shares a story in his gospel that exemplifies this. A boy committed a simple act by giving his fives loaves and two fish, which gave an opportunity for Jesus to minister to a crowd both physically and spiritually. If this boy didn’t choose to give what he had, the people may not have heard the message that Jesus needed to share. This is the kind of example that we hope will inspire both campers and staff.
The actions that we make each day don’t need to be large acts; they can be simple choices that positively impact those around us: Smiling at our neighbour, listening to someone who is struggling, buying a cup of coffee for someone in need.
A couple of summers ago we had a camper come for the first time. Let’s call him Sam. He came with very intense anger that was rooted in his upbringing. This led to many challenges for the staff. During the course of his week at camp, a simple act of asking about his likes led to an opportunity to sit and play guitar with him and to show him that we cared not only about him participating in the activities, but we also genuinely cared about him as a person.
As Sam returned again this past summer, I noticed a change in him. He was not as angry, he was more open to conversation and he got along much better with others. I think that his time at camp played a part in this change. I look forward to seeing Sam again this summer and am excited to see the growth that will have hopefully continued in his life. Perhaps one day he will be a part of our leaders-in-training program and even become a member of our staff team.
When we extend the love of Jesus to others, people are encouraged and challenged to then continue sharing what they have received. Camp provides great opportunities to teach and model this, but it is not limited to camp. Consider how the ripples you create can play a part in extending that love.
Chris Pot is program director at Hidden Acres Mennonite Camp, New Hamburg, Ont.
For other stories in our Focus on Camping series, see: